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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 23,532
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

Dec 1, 2016 Gordon Meyer
Nov 30, 2016 Barbara Cartwright
Nov 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Nov 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Nov 30, 2016 Linda K Swift
Nov 30, 2016 Carol Stout This is something that needs to be fixed immediately. We owe this to our military personnel and their family.
Nov 30, 2016 pat holbrook
Nov 30, 2016 Lynn Juozilaitis
Nov 30, 2016 Kathleen Sanger
Nov 30, 2016 Deb Lee Dugan
Nov 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Nov 30, 2016 Charles Hurd
Nov 30, 2016 Aaron Beer
Nov 30, 2016 Jennifer Rice We cannot do enough for the families of our military who are on active duty or have been on active duty.
Nov 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Nov 30, 2016 Shirley Campbell
Nov 30, 2016 Rosemary McCourt
Nov 30, 2016 Margarita Contreras
Nov 30, 2016 Theresia Simon
Nov 29, 2016 Maria Gattoni
Nov 26, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Nov 24, 2016 K Zoll
Nov 23, 2016 Karen Hershey Our Veterans sacrifice so much for our country. It's time we do the right thing by them.
Nov 22, 2016 Bill Coburn
Nov 22, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Nov 22, 2016 bob urbanski
Nov 21, 2016 Yolanda Emeric
Nov 21, 2016 Marissa Golomboski
Nov 20, 2016 Tracy Morjal
Nov 20, 2016 Lorraine Costea
Nov 20, 2016 Caryl Speck
Nov 20, 2016 Karen R. Meth
Nov 20, 2016 Ann Moriarity
Nov 20, 2016 Jen Matheson
Nov 20, 2016 Mrs Sandra Grandstrand A BIG YES!!
Nov 19, 2016 patty langford KEEP OUR NATION'S MILITARY HEALTHY!
Nov 19, 2016 Paula Keenum
Nov 19, 2016 Pamela Cornish
Nov 19, 2016 Marva Mathis
Nov 18, 2016 ethel Pounds
Nov 17, 2016 Cyndy Marvin
Nov 17, 2016 Deborah Henthorne
Nov 17, 2016 Deborah Henthorne
Nov 17, 2016 Robyn Sharpe
Nov 17, 2016 Lorie Zaplotinsky
Nov 17, 2016 Linda Hunt
Nov 17, 2016 C. Marshall
Nov 17, 2016 Karin Cohen
Nov 15, 2016 Carl O Connor
Nov 14, 2016 Jalisa Jones

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