Hello MiBAP Members! As we head into the dog days of summer, we wanted to provide a quick update on MiBAP activities and upcoming events. Thanks to all of you for your continued support!
MiBAP was officially established as a 501(c)(6) non-profit association in April 2019. We accepted applications for Founding Members through June 14, 2019 and I’m pleased to say we have 15 Founding Members. More importantly, those 15 Founding Members represent over 60% of the 5,100 ASD-diagnosed individuals currently in service in the MI Medicaid Autism Program – as a group we serve over 3,000 of those individuals. At the same time, the current total of diagnosed and eligible is over 6,400, so we have plenty of work in front of us from an access standpoint. Please encourage colleagues at other provider organizations to join MiBAP!
MiBAP presentation to the MI Autism Council. On June 28 I introduced MiBAP to the MI Autism Council, the group responsible for overseeing and providing direction for the MI Medicaid autism program. Overall the reception was excellent, and we spent time discussing opportunities to collaborate, particularly in the areas of advocacy and education.
MiBAP Advocacy efforts. MiBAP members, especially the Board of Directors, have been extremely busy in our statewide advocacy efforts. On June 19, the MiBAP Board met with Sen Pete MaGregor (Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee) and his staff to discuss the FY20 budget and autism program boilerplate language. Board members did an excellent job in sharing our perspectives and concerns, particularly as related to the definitions of “progress” and “success” for individualized ABA services, and where we think opportunities exist for cost savings. At the end of the meeting, Sen MaGregor asked us to submit recommended language for the FY20 budget, which is an excellent outcome. In addition to this meeting and ongoing FY20 budget discussions, members have met with numerous other legislators, and are engaged in several other advocacy efforts, including:
BCBS Rate & Policy Changes – BCBS and New Directions have recently announced changes to their billing policies, to include the elimination of concurrent billing for 97153 & 97155. The recent establishment of MiBAP is fortuitous, as BCBS will not negotiate with individual providers but is willing to sit down with a statewide provider organization. We are actively engaged on this issue and will provide updates as they happen.
Behavior Tech Criminal Background Checks – We recently learned that a PIHP has issued a blanket policy to disallow hiring of any behavior tech with a criminal record of any type – to include 20–year old misdemeanors or even expunged convictions. We have engaged the state on this topic as we believe it goes too far in limiting access to services, and in fact may be a violation of Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act. More to come on this.
MI Autism Program Policy on Non-Credentialed Supervisors – the state recently issued a draft policy for comment that proposed to extend the ability of non-credentialed supervisors (QBHPs, LPs, & LLPs) beyond the current September 2020 deadline. This is fundamentally an issue of balancing access, quality, and cost. MiBAP provided the state with feedback on this topic, recommending that the state carefully consider quality implications and required credentials for supervision against the need to serve thousands more individuals likely to be diagnosed with ASD across the state of Michigan.
Quality initiatives underway. The MiBAP Quality committee has launched (see below) and is considering the services of outside experts to help us better define evidence-based progress and success measures, and to develop proposed standards.
MiBAP Committees Established. Consistent with our bylaws, we have established several committees to advance the mission and goals of MiBAP. I encourage all of you to get involved in these committees – remember that anyone in your organization can participate. What a great way to provide staff with additional opportunities! Feel free to reach out to our committee chairs. The committees include:
Advocacy – Chair: Michelle O’Connor-Teklinski
Access – Chair: Becky Eldridge
Education – Chair: Maggie Moore
Quality – Chair: Zach Dugger
Public relations and outreach. We are in the midst of developing a MiBAP logo, web site, and other PR materials, with the hope that these will be completed by the end of the summer. We are also organizing a MiBAP-sponsored event for the Michigan Autism Conference (MAC) in Kalamazoo in October.
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