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Gov. Nixon discusses Missouri’s legacy on access to Autism treatment during address to the Thompson Center on Autism conference in St. Louis

From Gov. Nixon’s website, Sept. 22, 2016

St. Louis, MO — Gov. Jay Nixon today addressed the Thompson Center for Autism conference in St. Louis to discuss the state’s legacy and achievements in making autism treatments and services more available to Missouri children and their families.

“When I first became Governor, awareness of autism and its impact was just entering the mainstream. Many families didn’t know where to turn for help. Here in Missouri, we set out to change that, and we did,” Gov. Nixon said. “Today, thousands of families throughout Missouri are able to afford applied behavioral analysis therapy for their children because of the law we passed in 2010. Together, we are building a future where all children have an opportunity to live up to their God-given potential.”

Beginning in 2009, Gov. Nixon called on the Missouri General Assembly to pass legislation that would prevent insurance companies from denying children with autism the coverage they desperately needed. In 2010, the Missouri General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed, bipartisan legislation meeting this important need.

As a result of this landmark law, for the first time, insurance companies were required to cover one of the most highly effective types of therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. While effective, the cost of ABA can exceed tens of thousands of dollars a year, making insurance coverage necessary for most families.

Recently, the state’s annual autism report found that more Missouri children are benefiting from Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) than ever before, with thousands of children with autism receiving treatment – covered by their insurance companies – for autism-related conditions.

Gov. Nixon has continued this momentum with targeted investments to increase and expand access to autism treatments, and to train more Missourians in these types of therapies.

The Fiscal Year 2017 budget follows the Governor’s recommendation for historic investments in services for Missourians with developmental disabilities, including $5 million to expand the Thompson Center for Autism, in Columbia and $500,000 to expand services at the Mercy Kids Autism Center in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.

This past June, the Governor joined Truman State University President Troy Paino as well as educators, advocates, treatment providers and families to announce $5.5 million in state funding for a new Inter-Professional Autism Clinic at the former Greenwood Elementary School in Kirksville. The clinic will provide comprehensive autism services currently lacking in Kirksville and the surrounding area of northeast Missouri.

To learn more about Missouri’s efforts to increase access to quality health care under Gov. Nixon, please visit MO.gov