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ABA therapy

A behavior therapist works with a child who has autism spectrum disorder. She has her hands over his hands, guiding him to color.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Behavior clinics that serve children on the autism spectrum were already facing closures because of changes to the state Medicaid system and costly licensure requirements.

To cut costs and continue to serve as many children as safely as possible, some behavior analysis clinics are taking advantage of relaxed telehealth rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

A bill that would exempt applied behavior analysis clinics from needing an expensive state license is headed to the Florida House floor for a vote in the next month.

Supporters of the proposed bill say clinics that treat children on the autism spectrum will face tough financial decisions if it doesn't pass.

A state pilot program that uses GPS to track therapists who serve children on the autism spectrum is so fraught with problems that providers say they are having a hard time going to appointments and getting paid.

A therapist poses with a young boy at a state health meeting in Tampa.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

The state Agency for Health Care Administration wrapped up a series of statewide public meetings last week to address proposed changes to the Medicaid program that covers applied behavior analysis therapy.

Child at autism clinic drawing on paper.
Daylina Miller/WUSF News

The state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will roll out a GPS tracking pilot program as part of its effort to crack down on Medicaid fraud. 

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Behavioral therapists who work mostly with children on the autism spectrum say the state agency that oversees the Medicaid program is finally starting to listen to their concerns.

Protesters outside the Tampa AHCA office hold signs defending ABA therapy and opposing cuts to Medicaid.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

The state Agency for Health Care Administration is limiting how many people can attend a series of public meetings after so many people showed up to a meeting in Tampa earlier this month that AHCA split it into two sessions.

Adrianne Smith, behavior analyst and co-owner of Creative Behavior Solutions in Largo, attended AHCA's Tampa public meeting Friday, April 5 with her client, 2-year-old Dominick, and his mom, Renee Capone.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media/Health News Florida

The state Agency for Health Care Administration has backtracked on its decision to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for therapists who mostly work with children on the autism spectrum, but other changes are still on the table.

Ana Lopez Del Castillo, a registered behavior technician, works with a child at Amazing Gains Behavior Therapy Services in Orlando.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Therapists who work with autistic children in the Medicaid system are having problems getting required state credentials, according to providers.

The issue has been going on for months and is impacting how many patients clinics can serve, the providers said.

Child at autism clinic drawing on paper.
Daylina Miller/WUSF News

When you step inside the Creative Behavior Solutions clinic in Largo, the first thing you notice isn't what you can see, it's what you can hear – the sound of children laughing, clapping and singing.