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Autism Bill Creates Demand for Oregon Tech Courses

Sep 12, 2013
On August 14, 2013, Governor John Kitzhaber signed SB.365 into law; making Oregon the 34th state to enact autism insurance reform by requiring coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Sept. 12, 2013, SALEM, ORE. – On August 14, 2013, Governor John Kitzhaber signed SB.365 into law; making Oregon the 34th state to enact autism insurance reform by requiring coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The new law will take effect in 2015 for public employees and 2016 for state-regulated health plans.

Passage of this bill will bring relief to Oregon families by establishing requirements for state-regulated health plans to approve and manage autism treatment, including ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy and ensuring that treatment will be provided by well-qualified professionals. ABA therapy is an evidence-based treatment for autism that has been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U. S. Surgeon General. To ensure that well-qualified providers are available to families, a seven-member Behavior Analysis Regulatory Board (BARB) will be established within the Oregon Health Licensing Agency to license providers. The BARB will establish the criteria for providers to be eligible for licensure. These criteria will include rigorous coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis.

According the Senator Alan Bates, the bill’s chief sponsor, “After a ten year effort, my office was able to broker an agreement between autism advocates and insurance carriers to make available to autistic children, Applied Behavioral Analysis. The bill is specific by diagnosis and age and is explicit concerning practitioners who are qualified to practice Applied Behavior Analysis. Although it took innumerable and extremely difficult meetings to achieve this bill, in the end all parties agreed that this was about helping children with autism.

Currently offering undergraduate and graduate coursework in ABA at both campuses, Oregon Institute of Technology will begin offering the first two of a planned nine-course sequence of graduate courses in ABA at the Wilsonville campus this fall. These courses are designed to provide the rigorous training in ABA that will prepare professionals working in the field of autism to be ready to meet the need for well-qualified, credentialed providers.

“I am pleased that Oregon Tech has jumped on the opportunity to prepare qualified practitioners to offer these services,” said Senator Bates.

Dr. Maria Lynn Kessler, Professor of Applied Psychology at Oregon Tech, states, “The Applied Psychology program at Oregon Tech has been working to expand our Applied Behavior Analysis course offering to Wilsonville campus. We are pleased to partner with behavior analysts in the Wilsonville area who will bring their considerable expertise and experience to the courses we are offering. We look forward to meeting the workforce development needs by offering rigorous coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis to prepare professionals to provide quality services that will make a difference in the lives of children with autism.”

Oregon Tech has experience in providing courses in ABA and currently offers a four-course undergraduate sequence that has been approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) as meeting the coursework standards for Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).

For more information, please contact Maria Lynn Kessler at marialynn.kessler@oit.edu.

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