Workshop tackles challenges of writing medically necessary treatment plans for autism

As many individuals throughout the United States can attest, getting insurance coverage for certain conditions can best be described as another form of hell. And it’s especially the case for many individuals with autism.

Treatments, even when shown to be effective, are regularly rejected. As one couple recently told Capital Public Radio, their insurance provider rejected their adult son’s ABA treatment because it was “not medically necessary based on recent and relevant scientific evidence.”

LittleStar ABA Therapy is addressing many of those challenges with the workshop, “Navigating the 10th Circle of Hell: A Roadmap to Writing Medically Necessary Treatment Plans.” The workshop is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2018, and can be attended online or in person at the Public Forum Room, National Louis University-Lisle Campus, 850 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Ill.

The one-day workshop provides tips for writing successful treatment plans that support medical necessity for health-insurance funded individuals with autism. These letters of medical necessity (LOMN) are reviewed by insurance companies or governmental agencies in determining whether to approve coverage for treatment.

The workshop will be led by Tim Courtney, MS, BCBA, the COO for Little Star Center, a non-profit organization based in Indiana.

Courtney regularly advocates for ethical billing, the enforcement of insurance mandates and medical necessity documentation. In 2006, he earned a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). In addition to earning his certification as a behavior analyst, he has been an instructor in the ABA department of FIT since 2008.

The topics covered during the workshop include:

  • How to organize all of the steps of a medically necessary treatment plan from pre-authorization through re-authorization.
  • How to state the necessary components of a comprehensive and focused treatment plan to meet medical necessity.
  • How to review diagnostic reports, behavioral assessments and the written treatment plan to ensure they justify medical necessity.

To sign up for the workshop, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/navigating-the-10th-circle-of-hell-a-road-map-to-writing-medically-necessary-treatment-plans-tickets-39091725403

Need help developing more compelling medically necessary treatment plans for autism?

As most of the nation fixates on the future of health insurance, clinicians and other professionals in the field of autism care continue their ongoing battle to make a case for coverage of treatments like applied behavioral analysis (ABA).

Just recently, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento reported that California patients are facing insurance denials in record numbers — nearly triple. In many of those cases, families are fighting to get coverage for autism treatment. One family was told by their insurance provider that their adult son’s ABA treatment was “not medically necessary based on recent and relevant scientific evidence.”

In response to the challenges, LittleStar ABA Therapy is hosting a one-day workshop to provide clinicians with tips on writing successful treatment plans that support medical necessity for health-insurance funded individuals with autism. These letters of medical necessity (LOMN) are reviewed by insurance companies or governmental agencies in determining whether to approve coverage for treatment.

The workshop, aptly named “Navigating the 10th Circle of Hell: A Roadmap to Writing Medically Necessary Treatment Plans,” is scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Jan. 19, 2108, in the Public Forum Room, National Louis University-Lisle Campus, 850 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Ill. The workshop also offers an online option for those unable to attend in person.

The workshop will be led by Tim Courtney, MS, BCBA, the COO for Little Star Center, a non-profit organization based in Indiana.

Courtney is an advocate for the enforcement of insurance mandates, medical necessity documentation and ethical billing. He has a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). In addition to earning his certification as a behavior analyst, he has been an instructor in the ABA department of FIT.

The topics covered during the workshop include:

  • How to organize all of the steps of a medically necessary treatment plan from pre-authorization through re-authorization.
  • How to state the necessary components of a comprehensive and focused treatment plan to meet medical necessity.
  • How to review diagnostic reports, behavioral assessments and the written treatment plan to ensure they justify medical necessity.

To sign up for the workshop, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/navigating-the-10th-circle-of-hell-a-road-map-to-writing-medically-necessary-treatment-plans-tickets-39091725403

LittleStar ABA Therapy Receives Coveted Autism Speaks “Provider of the Year” Award at 11th Annual Autism Law Summit

Carmel, Indiana – LittleStar ABA Therapy (formerly Little Star Center) was the proud recipient of the 2017 Autism Speaks  Provider of the Year Award at the Autism Speaks Annual Autism Law Summit, which took place on October 27th -28th in San Diego.  The Autism Law Summit brings together parent advocates, autism service providers, lawyers, individuals with autism, lobbyists, and legislators from across the United States to discuss the policies associated with autism spectrum disorder.

The Provider of the Year Award is not given out every year. This year, Vice President of State Government Affairs at Autism Speaks, Lorri Unumb, on behalf of Autism Speaks, honored LittleStar ABA Therapy with the nation’s ‘Provider of the Year’ award in appreciation of exceptional advocacy on behalf of individuals with autism.

LittleStar ABA Therapy is based in Indiana with six ABA therapy center locations across the state.  LittleStar is the longest running ABA provider in the state of Indiana opening its doors in 2002.  The organization operates as a non-profit, and supports efforts to raise funds to help their families when insurance issues arise. LittleStar ABA Therapy also has a dedicated national advisory board that includes some of the foremost experts in the field of autism and ABA.

The mission of Little Star ABA therapy is to inspire, serve, and guide all those touched by autism to achieve a better reality.  As LittleStar’s Chief Operations Officer, Tim Courtney, explains, “Our goal is to help individuals with autism to learn not just to live, but to thrive in the world.”

“We offer a warm, welcoming environment,” says Mary Rosswurm, Executive Director of LittleStar ABA Therapy and mother of an adult with autism, and we’re fortunate in having a team of caring professionals with the highest credentials to provide ABA therapy for our children, teens and young adults.”

And as for being awarded Autism Speaks Provider of the Year: “We couldn’t be more proud!”

 

To find out more about LittleStar, visit the website at:  https://www.littlestaraba.org

 

LittleStar ABA Therapy

Contact Name: Mary Rosswurm

Email: [email protected]

317.249.2242

We’re Looking a Little Different Today…

You just might’ve noticed that we have a whole new appearance! That’s because we celebrated our 15th birthday in September, so we’ve adopted a little more grown-up look — refreshing our brand to appropriately salute our evolution from 2002 to where we are today.

Yesterday, we were Little Star Center. Today, we are LittleStar ABA Therapy … Our kids have grown up over the past 15 years, and so have we. But we’ll always be the place “Where individuals with autism learn to live in the world. Where families learn they are not alone.”

Why the change? Great question. In a nutshell, people weren’t sure what it was we did, or who we served. And Little Star Center has evolved into so much more over the years, and we’re very proud of that. (And very grateful for each and every individual who’s been with us or helped us along the way.) We’re providing Real Care, Real Advocacy and Real Progress to individuals with autism and to the ABA community as a whole. (And, heads up, you’ll hear those words — Real Care, Real Advocacy, Real Progress — more and more. We’re living by them in every little thing we do.)

Today, LittleStar ABA Therapy is an active, esteemed contributor to both the local and national ABA communities. Our leadership team includes some of the most respected minds in behavior analysis. Mary Rosswurm, Tim Courtney, Vince LaMarca and Breanne Hartley even wrote the book on the subject, The Training Curriculum for Supervisors of ABA Technicians in Autism Programs (1597380989), and its corresponding training manual on how to supervise behavior technicians with Dr. Denny Reid, a nationally recognized expert on staff training and supervision. The leadership team has already begun conducting workshops throughout the nation on this curriculum. Likewise, our board of advisors are renowned ABA experts, at the forefront of autism information, studies and practices.

This evolution has helped non-profit LittleStar offer greater resources to our learners than ever before:

  • We provide Real Care to learners through assessments and therapy based on the latest ABA science. And we offer compassion and guidance to families, whom we regard as our own.
  • Through Real Advocacy, we present at national conferences, lobby for the rights of those with autism, and work to get medically necessary ABA therapy hours approved by health insurers. Barring approval or given an inability to pay, we can help pay for therapy hours using our LittleStar Care, Advocacy and Progress (CAP) Fund (formerly our “scholarship fund”). (Please consider contributing if you can!)
  • We’re committed to achieving Real Progress with every learner via ABA therapy, setting them on personal paths to success and helping them reach goals that better their lives — and their families’ — now and in the future.

Please connect with us socially and through our newsletter (sign up below), browse our site to see what’s new, and consider contributing to our CAP Fund to ensure that every learner reaches their fullest potential.

 

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Donate to the LittleStar CAP Fund >

Spotlight: Meg DiMartino, Clinical Director, In-Home Program, Little Star Center Carmel

Meg DiMartino joined Little Star Center four years ago. As clinical director of the In-Home Program at Little Star Center, she oversees therapy program development and supervises staff and learners. Here’s more information about Meg:

What do you most enjoy about your job at Little Star Center? Providing support and guidance to the team members that I supervise in a way that allows us to learn from each other and all continue to grow as professionals and behavior analysts.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Related to behavior analysis and working with individuals with a disability, I was always told to remember that even though someone does not do something yet, it doesn’t mean that they won’t or can’t.

One thing I want people to know and understand about working with children affected by autism is….A disability does not define who a person is or who they will become.

What are your favorite activities when not working at Little Star Center? I love to spend time with my boyfriend, Ryan, and our two dogs, Jovie and Marla. I also really enjoy cooking and baking and trying new recipes.

Meet the Little Star clinical team at our May 3 Newburgh Center open house!

Little Star is proud to invite the community and prospective Little Star parents to tour our newest center in Newburgh.

On Wednesday, May 3, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., we welcome you to come check out our latest ABA therapy center, meet our clinical team and learn how you can enroll your child to be a part of the Little Star family.

You can find us at 3777 Haley Dr., Newburgh 47630.

Have questions? Please direct to them to our family services director, Victoria Blessing-Wade, at 317-249-2242 or [email protected].

We can’t wait to meet you!

Former Autism Speaks leader joins Little Star Center

Dan Unumb, former executive director of the Autism Speaks Legal Resource Center, is now a part-time contractor working in partnership with Little Star Center.

Dan is advocating for families at Little Star Center and throughout the state as they face legal challenges with insurance coverage. He also is in the development stages of a new Autism Legal Resource Center to support families impacted by autism across the country. Dan and his wife, Lorri, have a son, Ryan, who is impacted by autism. Dan is passionate about his work with Little Star Center and long-term goal to create a national Legal Resource Center. Read on to learn more about Dan’s work.

What attracted you to joining Little Star Center? Innovative and talented personnel. Mary (Rosswurm) has great vision and Tim (Courtney) has expertise. Everyone has a commitment to quality services and wanting to do more. I am grateful for the Board of Directors  at Little Star Center for their foresight in ensuring that the Autism Resource Center continues on now that Autism Speaks has decided to discontinue it.

What will be your primary role for Little Star Center? To provide legal analysis of autism treatment coverage issues and legislation and consult with clinicians to be sure that families do not face undue barriers to their treatment or limitations to their treatment that are not allowed under their insurance plan.

How did you get into this field of work? My 15-year-old son, Ryan, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. At the time, I was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. While my wife, Lorri, and I had great insurance, we found that it did not cover ABA therapy, even though every autism expert recommended it.

Lorri and I literally worked to pay for ABA therapy for Ryan. It’s basically you, a checkbook and a therapist. We sold our house and moved to South Carolina to be near family and have a home that was less expensive. When we took a breath, we realized ABA therapy is medically necessary and there should be insurance coverage – and there should be insurance coverage to pay for it.

Dan with his son, Ryan, age 15, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2.

We found a clause under Medicaid and started to work on getting coverage in South Carolina. We formed groups, pooled our money and met with legislators. After we got a bill through both the house and the senate in South Carolina, the governor vetoed it. This was in 2007. We got people to rally at the last minute to get the veto overwritten. This bill is now known as Ryan’s Law.

Since that time, we have created a national summit where professionals come together to address various laws and insurance coverage requirements. I ended up working for Autism Speaks, where I was the executive director of the Legal Resource Center until it was discontinued late last year. Lorri continues to serve as vice president of government of affairs.

What will the legal resource center provide to families when it is established? The benefits will be direct and indirect. We will have an educational emphasis where we educate and train other lawyers in this area. We will provide resources for parents to help them understand what they can do on their own behalf and offer them a broad network of attorneys in which they can use (for insurance issues).

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing families seeking ongoing ABA therapy for their child with autism? The healthcare law and what is going to happen nationally with Medicaid and private insurance will impact all of us. Families need the tools and rights to ensure coverage for this medically necessary condition. It will be important to have a state law mandate that includes broad coverage.

What do you enjoy most about serving families affected by autism? Everyone’s path is different and I appreciate that more and more—from behavior issues to non-verbal challenges. I feel a kinship with these parents. I enjoy the impact we can make with our advocacy work. It advances the ball. It will have a lifelong impact for the children directly involved and for their families and future generations.

Little Star Center expands autism services in Indiana with two new locations

Promo DRAFTLittle Star Center, Indiana’s first center-based, therapeutic applied behavior analysis (ABA) provider serving children to young adults with autism, announces today it is expanding autism services in Indiana by adding two new locations to its system of statewide ABA facilities. Little Star Centers in Clarksville and Newburgh will staff up to 100 new jobs in the southern Indiana communities. The new centers are scheduled to open in January 2017 and bring the total number of Little Star Center facilities in the state of Indiana to six.

Little Star Center has experienced continued and consistent growth in Indiana since opening its Carmel location in 2002 with just 10 learners and 15 employees. The Carmel location was the state of Indiana’s first center-based therapeutic ABA center. After nearly 15 years in operations, the organization has opened three additional centers: Lafayette in 2011, Bloomington in 2015 and West Lafayette in 2016. Services have expanded to include in-home therapy and community-based programming in addition to center-based ABA therapy.

“Our growth is directly related to the rising number of Hoosier children diagnosed with autism. Families of newly diagnosed children are joining the autism community each day, seeking medically necessary ABA therapy,” said Mary Rosswurm, executive director Little Star Center. “Our research shows families in southern Indiana communities will benefit from our personalized services, directed by some of the most experienced clinicians in the country. We look forward to changing the lives of more individuals and families impacted by autism.”

New jobs

Each Little Star Center will staff up to 50 team members for a total of 100 new jobs in Indiana. Little Star Center is currently accepting applications for various positions at both locations. Employment opportunities at each location include a center manager, an assistant clinical director with BCBA certification and therapists with a background in education, child psychology, special education, speech sciences and/or child development. Job descriptions and hiring information are available on our website.

About the new Little Star Center locations in Clarksville and Newburgh

Little Star Centers in Clarksville and Newburgh are scheduled to open in January 2017. The enrollment process requires working with a family’s insurance company and can take as long as 90 days to confirm benefits. Families seeking information and who are interested applying for ABA services at Little Star Center are encouraged to begin the process in the fall. Click here to learn about the Newburgh location. Click here to learn about the new location in Clarksville. Information sessions will be hosted in each city throughout the fall. Please review the information on the new center web pages for complete details.

 

Clinical director visits alma mater to recruit for Little Star Center

Breanne presenting her mentor, Dr. Maloff, with an ABA superhero shirt.

Breanne presents her mentor, Dr. Richard Malott, with an ABA superhero shirt.

By Breanne Hartley, Ph.D, BCBA-D

I recently had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, Western Michigan University, in order to attend the Midwestern Behavior Analysis job fair. It was a pleasure to be at my old stomping grounds, which holds so many fond memories of professional development and growth, to represent Little Star Center. I had the opportunity to briefly present to undergraduate and graduate students regarding how amazing it is to be an employee at Little Star Center. Afterwards, I received great feedback on the information that was presented. Students were extremely impressed that Little Star Center provides its employees with frequent learning opportunities to continuously learn about behavior analysis, ongoing opportunities for professional development, daily collaboration with other like-minded behavior analysts, and a competitive benefits package.

My visit to Western Michigan University also allowed me the chance to visit with my mentor, Dr. Richard Malott, whom I studied under to receive my Doctorate in behavior analysis. His passion for behavior analysis and his enthusiasm for continuing to provide exceptional graduate-level behavior analytic training is contagious. I gave him an “ABA superhero” t-shirt, the Little Star Center swag for the job fair, and he proudly wore it to the job fair social. He truly is an ABA superhero!

Breanne Hartley is a clincial director at Little Star Center. 

Little Star Center announces new West Lafayette ABA facility for children affected by autism, hiring new staff

Little Star Center, Indiana’s first center-based, therapeutic applied behavior analysis (ABA) provider serving children to young adults with autism, announces today it is opening a fourth location in Indiana. The new site will be the second Little Star facility in the Lafayette area, and will be located at 3595 Sagamore Parkway North, Suite 5.

“The Little Star Center currently operating in Lafayette is at capacity,” said Mary Rosswurm, Little Star Center executive director. “The new, location is just nine miles away, but takes about 25 minutes to get from one location to other. With Purdue University extending ABA therapy coverage to its staff in 2016, our board and leadership team know more families will seek out services for children impacted by autism. We are ready to fill that need with a conveniently located facility for university parents.”

Information sessions for parents

The new Lafayette location, at 3595 Sagamore Parkway North, Suite 5, is scheduled to open in January, 2016. Information sessions for parents will be hosted:

  • At Four Points by Sheraton-West Lafayette, 1600 Cumberland Ave
  • Monday, Oct. 26, 6 to 7:30 p.m., and
  • Saturday, Nov. 14, 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Families seeking information about applying for ABA services at Little Star Center also can email   Victoria Blessing Wade.

New center creates new jobs

Jobs are available at the new Lafayette center. Current openings include an assistant clinical director and therapists with a background in education, child psychology, special education, speech sciences and child development. Experience with autism or ABA is preferred. Job descriptions are online.

Little Star Center is a non-profit that raises funds to support families when insurance challenges surrounding ABA therapy arise. Little Star Center Board President Bill Bower says, “We were pleased to have Little Star Center families work with Purdue University as it considered expanding its benefits coverage to Purdue University employees. Yet we know there are times when families encounter insurance challenges. Our scholarship program helps families continue services by bridging that financial gap. We’re the only ABA facility in the state to provide this type of scholarship support and proud to be 100 percent non-profit able to do it.”

Little Star Center, with centers in Carmel, Lafayette and now Bloomington, is Indiana’s first applied behavior analysis center founded in 2002 is focused on providing a place where kids with autism learn to live in the world and parents learn they are not alone. Little Star services Hoosier families providing in-home and center-based ABA therapy, along with transition to school and community-based programs for children and families. Statistics show autism is one of the most rapidly growing developmental disabilities in the United States with one in 68 children diagnosed each year. Operating as a non-profit, the organization raises funds to support learner scholarships for families who find themselves in need of a safety net when insurance challenges arise. To learn more about the organization review this website.