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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 25,056
Sponsored by: The Veterans Site

For years the Department of Defense (DoD) has refused to acknowledge the validity of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. With over 23,000 military dependents living on the spectrum, this means restricted access to the most valuable treatment currently available. Already burdened by the constant moving and social turmoil of military life, families must also pay out of pocket for this costly yet vital therapy.

Rather than embrace change, the military's primary health care program, TRICARE, has imposed a series of even more restrictive guidelines, all while DoD lawyers continue to argue against covering ABA, citing "a lack of evidence of effectiveness." Medical professionals and organizations agree, however, that ABA is the most effective treatment available, helping those with autism lead happy and productive lives. Children tend to respond best to the therapy at a younger age, so as the DoD stalls and delays, families are losing precious time to help their loved ones.

With the world's largest, best-equipped, and best-financed military, such practices are unacceptable. An effective military starts with the people. Let's give military families the benefits they have earned.

Sign Here

Dear Dr. Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs:

As the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense of matters of health, you have an obligation to keep our nation's military healthy.

And you are failing.

For years the Department of Defense has refused to acknowledge the valuable service provided by Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in treating the symptoms of autism. Medical consensus depicts ABA as the gold standard of autism therapies, yet TRICARE provides inadequate coverage and imposes unreasonable bureaucratic obstacles, leaving military families to incur debt trying to cover the costly yet necessary treatment.

It is time to live up to your obligation. The DoD should immediately:

  1. Recognize ABA as a "medical therapy." Current TRICARE policy labels ABA as "educational intervention" and places restrictive caps on who can receive benefits and how much they can receive. Even the federal courts recognized the misnomer, calling TRICARE's designation "arbitrary and capricious." Words matter.
  2. Fulfill the congressional mandate for a pilot program. The late-2012 order from Congress would establish a model for the future while providing immediate relief for the nation's veterans and their families. Several months overdue, the pilot should be launched immediately with clear and concise communication to the families affected.
  3. Reverse ABA cutbacks. The recently announced changes to ABA policy impose impractical obstacles to proper treatment and, given the timing of the changes, demonstrate an unwillingness to work with the families who are only seeking access to the benefits they earned.

The health and well-being of military families has a direct impact on military readiness. By continuing to stall on this matter, the DoD not only betrays the nation's military, but also puts the nation at risk.

Please do the right thing.

Petition Signatures

Aug 18, 2018 Catherine King-Chuparkoff
Aug 17, 2018 Linda Long
Aug 16, 2018 Judy McKinney
Aug 7, 2018 Allison Lansberry
Aug 7, 2018 Amy Smardz
Aug 7, 2018 Lisa Delabre
Aug 7, 2018 Casey Phillips
Aug 1, 2018 Dot GINOCCHIO
Jul 24, 2018 Rl Vanstrien
Jul 23, 2018 Jennifer Arndts
Jul 23, 2018 Peter Carriere
Jul 22, 2018 Marie Sepeta Do your job! Live up to your obligations to take proper health care of military families. Yes, that includes dependents on the autism spectrum.
Jul 22, 2018 dessie henion
Jul 22, 2018 Ben C
Jul 21, 2018 Christine Iadeluca
Jul 20, 2018 K.J. Herson
Jul 19, 2018 Shane Dean
Jul 19, 2018 Trevor Cooper
Jul 19, 2018 Lourens Grobbelaar
Jul 19, 2018 Marlene Grobbelaar
Jul 19, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jul 19, 2018 Wendy Maltonic
Jul 19, 2018 Angela Graham
Jul 19, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jul 18, 2018 M T
Jul 16, 2018 josilda josilda
Jul 10, 2018 Cheri Kirby
Jul 4, 2018 Lucille Bringenberg
Jun 27, 2018 Beverly Rector
Jun 25, 2018 JOHN Mercer
Jun 19, 2018 Richard Bosboom
Jun 19, 2018 Donna Ventola
Jun 18, 2018 Bridget Hopper
Jun 15, 2018 Patricia Duncan
Jun 14, 2018 Rick Hodorowich
Jun 14, 2018 Terri Sammarco
Jun 14, 2018 Staci Asher
Jun 11, 2018 Joan Kelly
Jun 7, 2018 Harry Neyer
Jun 4, 2018 Madeleine Norris
May 27, 2018 Sharman von Dallwitz Seriously? If you've signed on the dotted line to be part of a professional non-conscripted military, then the least we can do is to care for the most vunerable in our society.
May 23, 2018 Kelly Shanks
May 22, 2018 Aliyah Khan
May 18, 2018 Heidi Steffy
May 18, 2018 Kate Conrad
May 18, 2018 Donna Selquist
May 15, 2018 Kathy Huddleston
May 10, 2018 Nina Mason
May 8, 2018 suzanne caruso
May 8, 2018 Sara Vilhena

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