Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
Goal: 50,000 Progress: 23,178
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

Oct 21, 2016 Wilma Shepard Our Military needs to know we still care about them and there family.
Oct 21, 2016 Pamela Bendix
Oct 21, 2016 Thomas Armstrong
Oct 21, 2016 B Elston
Oct 21, 2016 Carla Allen
Oct 21, 2016 gene polis
Oct 21, 2016 Denise Nash
Oct 21, 2016 Dennis Downes
Oct 21, 2016 debra bartlett
Oct 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2016 Frank-Ti Neff
Oct 21, 2016 Doreen Roethler
Oct 21, 2016 Teresa Smith
Oct 21, 2016 Rhonda Attig
Oct 21, 2016 (Name not displayed) We really need to support ALL aspects of our military families medical lives. Everyone of us deserve the same care, not less because some are a bit more challenged than others. The challenges of autism are just as real and life long as any disability
Oct 21, 2016 Diana Rios
Oct 21, 2016 Christy De Voy
Oct 21, 2016 Debra Moray-Brach
Oct 21, 2016 Elizabeth Bennett
Oct 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2016 Jennifer Brandon
Oct 21, 2016 Margaret Miller
Oct 21, 2016 Rebecca Rajhansa
Oct 21, 2016 Ashley Ludwig
Oct 21, 2016 Carol Luther-Lemmon
Oct 21, 2016 Devyani Chauhan
Oct 21, 2016 Roberta Thompson
Oct 21, 2016 Kathy Reid
Oct 21, 2016 Jenn Turner
Oct 21, 2016 Rachael Henrich
Oct 21, 2016 Jana Lynne Webb Muhar
Oct 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2016 Carolyn Samples
Oct 21, 2016 Elizabeth Housel
Oct 21, 2016 Lillian Swindell
Oct 21, 2016 Despina Mordou
Oct 21, 2016 zana midmore
Oct 21, 2016 Dorothy Hubbard
Oct 21, 2016 Zoann Priesmeyer
Oct 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 21, 2016 Lisa Margraf
Oct 21, 2016 Lois Nottingham
Oct 21, 2016 Laurie Merline
Oct 21, 2016 Colleen Bertrand
Oct 21, 2016 Karla Faulkner
Oct 21, 2016 Salome Waters
Oct 21, 2016 Cait McCarthy
Oct 21, 2016 Kathleen BOYETTE

back to top

Share this page and help fund more meals: