Mother wins hearing to fund therapy for daughter with autism

OKLAHOMA CITY - "So Maycee doesn't just have one provider. Maycee has her pediatrician, speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA therapy, she has a neurologist. She has an ophthalmologist,” Mother Kendra Webb said.

Little Maycee Webb was diagnosed with autism just before she turned 2. While all of her therapies have helped, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy has been instrumental in keeping her safe.

"Maycee would try to climb on bookcases. Like seven-foot bookcases. She would try to walk on fences,” Kendra Webb said.

Finding ABA therapy was difficult until her mom Kendra finally found fundamental therapy in Ardmore.

"We work on increasing the behaviors that we want to use while decreasing the behaviors that affect your life or learning,” April Bryant, Board Certified Behavior Analyst at FUNdamentals Therapy.

Kendra's primary insurance provider pays for some of the treatment. The rest goes through SoonerCare, Oklahoma's Medicaid program. But in late 2017 Kendra hit a snag when the Oklahoma Health Care Authority said they wouldn't pay for it.

"She emailed me back and let me know that it wasn't a covered service and that they weren't providing that for kids with autism in Oklahoma."

So Kendra went to the Oklahoma Disability Law Center for help.

After a lengthy legal battle, a judge ordered the Health Care authority to cover up to 12 hours of ABA services each week for Maycee.

"The decision we were able to obtain for this family is based up a decision that it was medically necessary for this young child to have this therapy,” Brian Wilkerson, Dir. of Litigation and Legal Services at Oklahoma Disability Law Center, said.

While the health care authority won't address the case, they say they are working on ABA therapy coverage to other qualifying patients up to 21.

"There was a house bill back in 2016 that originally prompted the need for this and required private insurers to cover it and it also asked us to cover it too as long as there's adequate funding,” Katelynn Burns, with Oklahoma Health Care Authority, said.

The agency is now requesting $4 million from the state to fund therapy by July 1st.

Kendra says while this case is specific to her daughter, she's hoping it will pave the way for better policies for all families who have children with autism.

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