Kaiser Permanente forced to pay $9M in Autism therapy law suit

California based integrated care provider  Kaiser Permanente has been forced to hand over in the region of nine million dollars for behavioural therapy they allegedly refused to provide.

The state of California mandated care, in the form of behavioural and cognitive development for children with Autism in July 2012. The case complaining against the company was filed in Southern California in 2009 on behalf of Andrew Acre, and all other children like him.

The complaint arose when Andrew’s parents applied for behavioural therapy through their healthcare package, when their son was two years old. According to most health professionals, children with Autism benefit greatly in terms of communication, playing and cooperating with their peers. Also learning valuable life skills to take into adulthood.

According to Sacramento Business journal:

“Health care companies have balked at paying for the therapy, because it’s expensive, and it’s educational rather than medical.”

Kaiser Permanente eventually paid for Andrew’s treatment but only after being ordered by the state of California to do so under state legislature (senate bill 946).

The settlement was announced internally on July 30, requires Kaiser to set up a fund of up to nine million dollars, to be given to parents who made a claim on behalf of their children before the legislature change.  Claimants who have applied on behalf of children diagnosed with Autism and related disorders, as far back as 2004, were given written notice on July 29.

Any remaining monies will go to fund Autism research.

Kaiser Permanente amended their website accordingly in 2012, stating:

“We’ll continue to fulfill our responsibility to take care of the health care needs of our members with autism, and we’re designing programs to provide new services. Also, we are adding qualified autism providers to our network to enable us to provide our members with those services as required by this new law.”