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Goal: 25,000 Progress: 21,461
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

Jul 21, 2016 Leteeca Fuller
Jul 20, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jul 20, 2016 Elena Caddell
Jul 19, 2016 Megan David
Jul 19, 2016 Beverly Rodigo
Jul 19, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jul 17, 2016 Angela Jensen
Jul 16, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jul 15, 2016 Annette Oliver
Jul 14, 2016 Kris Wildman
Jul 10, 2016 Dolores Bonanno
Jul 10, 2016 harry jacobs
Jul 7, 2016 Patt Lynch take care of our veterans they did what they were told and promised somethings in return.They did what was expectd of them the gov't must return what they promised our service members and their families
Jul 6, 2016 karine tremblay
Jul 4, 2016 Donna J
Jul 3, 2016 Joe Oldham
Jul 1, 2016 Joanne Debicki-Meta
Jun 26, 2016 (Name not displayed) DoD...Your DUTY is to help our military families. And in families with ASD children, both the affected cildren and their parents need help as soon as the ASD diagnosis is made. Without it, you are causing untold suffering and damage. DO YOUR DUTY!
Jun 26, 2016 Natalie Bieniarz
Jun 26, 2016 Jessica Robinson
Jun 23, 2016 JoAnn Evans
Jun 20, 2016 Sherry Horne Taylor
Jun 19, 2016 Tina Beesmer
Jun 17, 2016 Judy Harbin I have met so many active duty families that are not being covered for what I feel are horrific birth deformities, health issues that are not being covered & Navy Relief not helping with one dime! What is their use? Veteran CUTS DON'T DO IT.
Jun 14, 2016 Kent McClelland
Jun 14, 2016 James Standlee
Jun 14, 2016 Frank Giuffre Sr
Jun 13, 2016 María Galarce
Jun 10, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jun 7, 2016 Caroline CEDELLE
Jun 6, 2016 Dat Tran
Jun 5, 2016 Melinda Funk
Jun 5, 2016 Jennifer Rhoads
Jun 5, 2016 Sue Sweeney The members of the military all volunteered to take care of American families - it is well past the time that America's elected officials take care of the military families, and lessen their benefits to sit in office all safe & sound
Jun 3, 2016 AniMae Chi
Jun 1, 2016 Jessica bailey
Jun 1, 2016 Brenda Allen As a former dependent of an Air Force Senior Master Sargent I find it appalling that again medical care for the families is last on the list. It is YOUR obligation to make sure the families have access to necessary care! Get off your behinds & do your job
May 31, 2016 roy wolf I think if the troops need your help with there kids with autism they should be helped with no questions asked the troops help us out with freedom.
May 29, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 29, 2016 Congressman Sean Duffy
May 29, 2016 Dawn Shockley
May 29, 2016 Denise Cronin
May 25, 2016 Deborah Lombardi
May 25, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 22, 2016 Aggelina Ornstein
May 22, 2016 Larry Andrews
May 20, 2016 Megan McMillen
May 18, 2016 (Name not displayed) My granddaughter was making amazing progress with her ABA therapist when she was taken away from her because the institution said that Tricare would not cover for an advanced ABA therapist. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch her needs go unmet.
May 17, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 15, 2016 brenda maki

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