Our friends and colleagues at Advocates for Children are putting out a call to action to protect early intervention programs for young children. Early Intervention provides evaluations and services to infants and toddler who have developmental delays or disabilities and their families.
Governor Cuomo's 2012-2013 Executive budget proposal would restructure Early Intervention, linking those services to health insurance coverage. In a statement, Advocates says:"While we support the goal of requiring private health insurance comopanies to contribute to the cost of EI, we are concerned about parts of the proposal."
Among other things, the proposal calls for a representative from an insurance company to be on the team that develops a child's Individualized Family Service Plan. It would also require the child to be evaluated and served by evaluators and service providers within the child's insurance network.
Advocates for Children is calling on concerned parents to call or e-mail their state legislators to express their concerns that these changes would would make it harder to access high-quality EI services.
See the Advocates for Children website for more information. A sample email letter is after the jump.
Protect Early Intervention
As a [parent of a child who receives Early Intervention services], I am very concerned about the Early Intervention budget proposals. First, just as health insurance representatives do not participate in meetings between doctors and patients, health insurance representatives should not be able to participate in IFSP meetings. The role of health insurance companies should be to help pay for services, not to decide what services are appropriate. Second, I am concerned that the proposal would restrict access to services by requiring evaluators, service coordinators, and service providers to come from different agencies and by requiring the use of in-network evaluators and providers. Young children should have access to the most appropriate EI providers regardless of the agencies or networks for which they work. Third, I am concerned that the requirements that providers negotiate their rates with health insurance companies and file appeals of health insurance claim denials will drive experienced providers from the EI field, making it harder for young children to access the services they need. Please ensure that the budget addresses these concerns and protects access to high-quality EI services.