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News | Nov. 2, 2021

Recent Updates Provide More Help for New Autism Care Demonstration Enrollees

By TRICARE Communications

Are you and your family new to the TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD)? If you are, you’ll experience exciting improvements to the program. TRICARE is assigning an autism services navigator (ASN) to every ACD participant who entered the program on or after Oct. 1, 2021.
 
The ASN’s role is to be the primary point of contact for your family. They help coordinate medical and non-medical care and services. They’ll also help families during permanent change of station (PCS) or other types of moves for new ACD families.
 
Your ASN will reach out to you after they receive a complete referral from an approved autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-diagnosing provider and after you meet all ACD eligibility requirements. Next, the ASN will work with you to develop a comprehensive care plan.
 
“The comprehensive care plan will identify the needs of your child and your family,” said Dr. Krystyna Bienia, a clinical psychologist and senior policy analyst at the Defense Health Agency. “It will pull the entire picture together into one plan. Your ASN will update that plan every six months to address progress, timelines, needs, or other changes that might require consideration and support.”
 
Under the comprehensive care plan, your ASN will:
  • Identify all care and services for your child
  • Document outcome measures, track timelines, and help ensure families get the measures they need when the time comes
  • Document PCS timelines or other transitions, where applicable
  • Develop a care management discharge and transition plan
 
Your ASN has other duties, including:
  • Coordinating medical services through military hospitals and clinics, Extended Care Health Option, applied behavior analysis (ABA) services, and parent-mediated programs
  • Participating in clinical team discussions, where available
  • Helping to continue care when a family moves, a military sponsor retires, or a treating provider is unavailable
  • Providing educational resources about ASD
 
Did you enter the ACD before Oct. 1? You still have access to case management services through several resources. These include your regional contractor, military hospitals and clinics, and the Exceptional Family Member Program.
 
On Oct. 1, TRICARE regional contractors also added new information and resources to their websites for all ACD families:
  • A parent toolkit with information about the ACD program
  • Information about clinical and nonclinical services
  • Local area supports and resources
  • Military supports and resources
  • Parent-mediated intervention services
 
These are just the latest updates made to the ACD this year. Updates to the ACD began to take effect on May 1. All updates will be in effect by Jan. 1, 2022.
 
As outlined in the TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration Fact Sheet, the ACD covers ABA services and many other services for the diagnosis of ASD. Those who may qualify for services through the ACD include family members of active duty service members, retirees, and certain National Guard or Reserve members. To qualify, you must enroll your child in a TRICARE health plan. Your child must also have a diagnosis of ASD by an approved ASD-diagnosing provider.
 
Go to the TRICARE website to learn more about ACD eligibility and services. If you have questions, you can reach out to your TRICARE contractor.
Lt. Col. Paula Neemann, 15th Healthcare Operations Squadron clinical medicine flight commander, demonstrates several birth options, such as an intrauterine device, at the 15th MDG’s contraceptive clinic at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 6, 2021. The contraceptive clinic opened June 7 to service beneficiaries and provide same-day procedures without a referral. (Photo: U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson)

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