Public Policy and Practice   |   Update: August 22, 2011

CalABA letter in support of SB 770.

The Honorable Darrell Steinberg
President Pro Tempore, California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95811

Re: SB 770 - SUPPORT

Dear Senator Steinberg:

On behalf of the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA), I am writing to express our support for your legislation, SB 770, which will ensure that health plans and insurers provide coverage for behavioral health treatment for individuals with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) or autism.

CalABA represents Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), providers of the behavioral health treatment, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The BCBA credential is issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), a fully accredited, 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 1998. To become credentialed as a BCBA, an individual must hold a doctoral or masters degree, complete specified relevant coursework and over a thousand hours of supervised training in the field, and pass a psychometrically valid, objective exam administered by the BACB. All BCBAs are subject to continuing education requirements and professional and disciplinary standards. BCBAs are named in 27 states' autism coverage laws as permitted to design, implement, and supervise ABA treatment plans.

ABA has been documented in more than 500 studies and numerous task force reports as being the most effective and well-established treatment and intervention for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Despite this volume of evidence - and the mandates in the federal and state mental health parity laws - in California, coverage for ABA and other behavioral health treatments has been inadequate, delayed, or altogether nonexistent.

It is clear that the time for legislative action is now. SB 770 will resolve much of the protracted debate on autism coverage and ensure that individuals with PDD and autism will receive the services that they need.

We thank you for your efforts and are pleased to support SB 770.

Sincerely,

Jill Young, Ph.D., BCBA-D
President

cc: Members, Assembly Appropriations Committee
Lisa Murawksi, Consultant, Assembly Appropriations Committee
Dr. Louis A. Vismara, Office of President Pro Tempore
David Panush, Office of President Pro Tempore
Myesha Jackson, Office of President Pro Tempore
Jerry Shook, CEO, Behavior Analyst Certification Board