Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 112631
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File Number: 112631 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-1119-11 Control: County Commission
File Name: REQUIRE PHYSICIAN TO REFER CHILD W/ AUTISM TO SPECIALIST Introduced: 12/16/2011
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 12/19/2011
Agenda Date: 12/19/2011 Agenda Item Number: 11A5
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION SUPPORTING SB 162, HB 951 OR SIMILAR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD REQUIRE A PHYSICIAN TO REFER A CHILD WHO EXHIBITS SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER TO A SPECIALIST FOR AUTISM SCREENING WHEN MEDICALLY NECESSARY AND THAT FURTHER WOULD REQUIRE HEALTH INSURERS TO PROVIDE DIRECT PATIENT ACCESS TO AN APPROPRIATE SPECIALIST FOR AUTISM SCREENING WITHOUT A REFERRAL; URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO PASS SUCH LEGISLATION
Indexes: AUTISM
  LEGISLATURE
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Prime Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 12/19/2011 11A5 Adopted P
REPORT: .

County Attorney 12/16/2011 Assigned Jess M. McCarty

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING SB 162, HB 951 OR SIMILAR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD REQUIRE A PHYSICIAN TO REFER A CHILD WHO EXHIBITS SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER TO A SPECIALIST FOR AUTISM SCREENING WHEN MEDICALLY NECESSARY AND THAT FURTHER WOULD REQUIRE HEALTH INSURERS TO PROVIDE DIRECT PATIENT ACCESS TO AN APPROPRIATE SPECIALIST FOR AUTISM SCREENING WITHOUT A REFERRAL; URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO PASS SUCH LEGISLATION

BODY
WHEREAS, autism is a term that describes a group of complex developmental disabilities that many researchers believe are the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain; and
WHEREAS, autistics children often have problems communicating with others through spoken language and non-verbal communication; and
WHEREAS, autism is classified as a developmental disability because it interferes with the typical rate and pattern of childhood development; and
WHEREAS, the signs of autism usually appear in the form of developmental delays before a child turns three years old; and
WHEREAS, during the 2008 legislative session, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 2008-30, Laws of Florida (Senate Bill 2654), which required health insurance companies to provide coverage for evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies; and
WHEREAS, Chapter 2008-30 required that insurance companies cover up to $36,000 a year for applied behavior analysis and other therapies for children under age eighteen, with a lifetime limit for treatments of $200,000; and
WHEREAS, while Chapter 2008-30 represented a major step forward for Florida families who have children with autism, it did not address all of the issues that the developmental disability community had wanted; and
WHEREAS, two such issues relate to referral to a specialist for autism screening and health insurance coverage; and
WHEREAS, Florida law currently does not require a physician to refer a child to a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist or developmental or behavioral pediatrician for autism screening when a parent or guardian reports that a minor exhibits symptoms of autism; and
WHEREAS, Florida law also currently does not require health insurance companies and health maintenance organizations to provide direct patient access without a referral to an appropriate specialist for screening, evaluation and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder; and
WHEREAS, ensuring that a child suspected of having autism is evaluated by a specialist with training in autism spectrum disorder is critical to getting the child the help he or she may need as soon as possible; and
WHEREAS, identical House and Senate companion bills have been filed for consideration during the 2012 session of the Florida Legislature that would require a physician to refer a child to a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, developmental or behavioral pediatrician or other specialist for screening for autism spectrum disorder when the physician determines that the referral is medically necessary, SB 162 by Senator Jeremy Ring (D Margate) and HB 951 by Representative Luis Garcia (D Miami); and
WHEREAS, if the physician determines that the screening is not medically necessary, then these bills would require the physician to inform the parent or guardian of the option to refer the child to an autism specialist; and
WHEREAS, these bills further require health insurance companies and health maintenance organizations to provide direct patient access without a referral to an appropriate specialist for screening, evaluation and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder for up to three visits per year; and
WHEREAS, this Board supports passage of SB 162, HB 951 or similar legislation,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Supports SB 162, HB 951 or similar legislation that would require a physician to refer a child to a psychologist, psychiatrist or other specialist for screening for autism spectrum disorder when the physician determines that the referral is medically necessary; further requiring health insurance companies and health maintenance organizations to provide direct patient access without a referral to an appropriate specialist for screening, evaluation and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder for up to three visits per year.
Section 2. Urges the Florida Legislature to pass such legislation.
Section 3. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, Senator Jeremy Ring, Representative Luis Garcia and the Chair and remaining members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 4. Directs the County's state lobbyists to support the legislation set forth in Sections 1 and 2 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to amend the 2012 state legislative package passed by this Board to include this item.




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