Feedback needed on your experience with SB 946


Matrix blogged last summer about a new law, SB 946 that went into effect July 1, 2012 (Know Your Rights — Health insurance must cover autism) which mandates that insurance must cover behavioral health treatment for autism.

Directors of several Area Boards in southern California are meeting with the Department of Managed Health Care on December 4, 2012 and working with the Office of Clients Rights’ Advocacy and Disability Rights California to address concerns families may have about the implementation of SB 946.  In order to best represent the concerns of those who are impacted by SB 946, they are requesting your feedback.  Your feedback is welcome even after the December 4 meeting date has passed.  Please reply to this survey if you and your family have had challenges in the following areas:

  • Co-pays
  • Delays in the start of services
  • Choice in terms of providers
  • Co-Insurance
  • Other issues

Survey Link:

What is DIS counseling?

Special Education is full of terms to master. One term that’s being heard more is “DIS counseling.” DIS stands for designated instructional service. This is another term for related services.  Related services are any service needed for a student to access his or her education and make progress in IEP goals in the least restrictive environment (see the LRE page from our IEP packet in English or in Spanish). Designated instructional services” (DIS) and “related services” mean the same thing.

During the years when Assembly Bill 3632 mandated County/Community Mental Health as the agency to provide mental health school services to students receiving Special Education, the term “mental health” or “CMH services” was commonly used.  With the ending of AB 3632, school districts are now responsible to provide services for students whose emotional challenges get in the way of their education, and the term DIS Counseling is being used. You may also hear the terms “Educationally Related Mental

Health Services” (ERMHS) in Sonoma County and “Mental Health as a Related Service” (MHRS) in Solano County. ERMHS and MHRS are the same as DIS counseling (term used in Marin County).

If your school district indicates that your student may need counseling, be sure to clarify if this is DIS counseling (Special Education counseling) or if this is counseling provided through general education. For a student in Special Education to receive any related service, an assessment is done to identify need and to guide the type, duration, frequency, and location of a service.

For more information on related services/DIS, see:

Know Your Rights — Health insurance must cover autism

Consumer AlertThe California Department of Insurance reminds consumers a new law took effect July 1, 2012, mandating that health insurers cover behavioral health treatment for autism. This new law reconfirms provisions of California’s Mental Health Parity Act.

Know Your Rights To Autism Treatment:

  • Every health insurance contract that provides hospital, medical, or surgical benefits must also provide coverage for behavioral health treatment (BHT) for pervasive developmental disorder or autism. BHT includes Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other evidence-based therapies to treat autism.
  • Every health insurer must maintain an adequate network that includes qualified autism service providers.
  • The treatment plan must be prescribed by a licensed physician, or surgeon, or developed by a licensed psychologist. Start by working with your child’s primary care provider to learn about appropriate services.
  • The treatment plan must have measurable goals over a specific timeline, be reviewed every six months, and must not be used for the reimbursement of respite, day care, or educational services.
  • Health care insurers may require prior authorization, copayments, or other cost-sharing for BHT.
  • Visit limits may not be imposed for medically necessary speech or occupational therapy for autism.
  • Even if the policy excludes or limits these types of treatment, the law entitles insureds with autism to coverage for all medically necessary behavioral, speech, and occupational therapy.

 Other Resources

SURVEY: More Respondants Needed for Abuse Survey

Persons with a disability, family members, or a professional in the disability field are welcome to take the survey.  Struck by the number of abuse cases against individuals with disabilities appearing in the media, the Disability and Abuse Project of Spectrum Institute created a survey on the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of many demographic groups that have encountered abuse as victims and through their profession. This survey was created to help advocates and professionals better understand what victims are saying about their abuse experiences and how professionals view their experiences with abuse / crime victims.

With over 6,000 respondents and counting, this survey will provide useful information that can help better serve our community. But the project’s leaders need more respondents to ensure the results are representative. The survey takes about 8 minutes, is completely anonymous, and all results will be published online.

Please take this important survey.

Let your voice be heard: Golden Gate Regional Center out of compliance

Help GGRC Address Coordinator-to-Consumer Ratios Golden Gate Regional Center will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, to inform the community that Golden Gate Regional Center is out of compliance with Welfare and Institutions Code 4640.6.(c) “service coordinator-to-consumer ratios” and to seek public input to develop a plan of action. This meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. and will be held at: Golden Gate Regional Center 3130 LaSelva Street Ground Floor Conference Room San Mateo, CA 94403