Thursday, February 2, 2012

Advocates Challenge DSS Denial of "Habilitation" Services for Children

New Haven -- When she was younger, Natalia Caraballo used some words and sign language to communicate. But around her 2nd birthday, Natalia, who has Down syndrome and autism, stopped speaking and started making less eye contact with those around her. Her parents hoped to continue the intensive therapy Natalia, now 4, had received through an early intervention program. But their insurance, HUSKY, the state's Medicaid program, denied coverage for the services, known as applied behavioral analysis, saying that the services were for "habilitation" purposes, not rehabilitation.
"This means they are meant to help you get new skills, not to restore skills or abilities that you once had but lost due to an illness or health condition," Mark Schaefer, the state Department of Social Services' director of medical care administration, wrote in a letter explaining the denial.

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