Senator Ron Justice
State Capitol Room 423
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: April 14, 2009
Sen. Ron Justice
AUTISM PROVIDER NETWORK BILL PASSES SENATE
Greater Access to Services for Autistic Children Seen as Good
The State Senate unanimously passed HB 2027 today,
a bill which will provide better services and more access to care
for autistic children and their families.
The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Ron
Justice, R-Chickasha, provides for the enactment of a licensing
process for national Board Certified Behavioral Analysts and enhancement
of existing state programs that would train doctors to diagnose
and treat autism.
Studies have determined that a shortage of trained
providers has made it difficult for families to obtain autism
services, even when they have financial assistance.
“This is a very positive and compassionate
step toward meeting the needs of the families who are dealing
with the growing challenge of autistic children,” said Justice.
“Until we build a trained and accessible provider network
in Oklahoma, all of the insurance coverage in the world won’t
meet the needs of these families.
“We’re proud of this action by the Legislature,
and look forward to seeing it through the process and on to the
Governor’s desk to help us build a provider infrastructure
in Oklahoma that is sorely lacking today.”
A recent state pilot program provided families over
$12,000 a year to obtain autism-related services, but much of
the funds went unused due to the lack of trained Autism professionals
in the state.
When enacted, this legislation will increase the
number of trained specialists to treat autism spectrum disorders
while allowing the open market to adjust coverage based on the
demand of services.
“The best thing we can do for these families
today is to make more trained professionals available to their
children,” said President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee. “Too
many families have to leave the state to access trained professional
assistance. We’re assuring these families they can obtain
the help without having to leave home.”
House Bill 2027 includes the following provisions:
• Establish a state license for national Board
Certified Behavioral Analysts and create a professional standard
for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).
• Increase training for the evaluation and
diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.
• Enhance Sooner Start by providing professional
training for the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders.
Sooner Start is an early intervention and treatment program for
children with disabilities and developmental delays age birth
• Secure funding for an ABA Research Project
to provide supervision to college students seeking licensure,
quantify the effects of applied behavioral analysis and offer
parental training and support.
• Provide intensive early intervention for
more children by replicating Early Foundations. Early Foundations
is an autism treatment and outreach model that offers behavioral
intervention through trained providers.
For more information contact:
Sen. Justice's Office: 405-521-5537