Policy, Law & Civil Rights
Policy, Law & Civil Rights
H.R. 4247, the Keeping All Students Safe Act (formerly the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in the Schools Act) is the first national effort to address this problem and ensure the safety of everyone involved – both students and school staff.
Specifically the legislation would:
Prevent and reduce inappropriate restraint and seclusion by establishing minimum safety standards in schools, similar to protections already in place in hospitals and non-medical community-based facilities.
- Allow physical restraint or locked seclusion only when there is imminent danger of injury, and only when imposed by trained staff;
- Prohibit the use of any mechanical restraint, such as strapping children to chairs, misusing therapeutic equipment to punish students, or duct-taping parts of their bodies;
- Prohibit chemical restraint, meaning medications used to control behavior that are not administered consistent with a physician’s prescription;
- Prohibit any restraint that restricts breathing;
- Prohibit aversive behavioral interventions that compromise health and safety, such as denying students water, food, or clothing, denying access to toilet facilities, or using noxious stimuli such as pepper spray in order to control behavior;
- Prohibit schools from including restraint or seclusion as planned interventions in student’s education plans, including Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); and
- Require schools to notify parents after incidents when restraint or seclusion was used. To read more. . .
Summary of the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act of 2009 (ATAA) (S. 819 and H.R. 2413)
Demonstration Project – Creates a demonstration project to develop Autism Care Centers in order to increase access to quality health care services and communication among healthcare providers, educators, and other providers of services; enable beneficiaries to designate a personal primary care coordinator as a source of contact for a family; and provide a full array of medical, behavioral, mental health, educational and family care services to individuals and families in a single location.
Adult Services Demonstration Project – Creates a demonstration project to provide an array of services to adults with autism spectrum disorders including: post secondary education, vocational and self advocacy skills, employment; residential services, supports and housing; nutrition, health and wellness; recreational and social activities; and transportation and personal safety.
Registry (Senate bill only) – Establishes a voluntary population-based autism spectrum disorders case registry to help understand the root causes, rates, and trends of autism.
Public Education and Awareness Campaign – Develops a national multimedia campaign to increase public education and awareness about healthy developmental milestones and autism throughout the lifespan. Campaigns will be targeted at a general public audience or specific audiences such as medical, criminal justice, or emergency professionals.
Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee – Establishes an Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee to coordinate and advise on government activities relating to research, services, and programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Members will include representatives from relevant governmental agencies (Health and Human Services, Dept. of Education, etc) and members representing individuals with autism, parents, service providers, and advocacy groups.
National Network for Autism Spectrum Disorders Research and Services – Establishes a National Network in order to strengthen linkages between research and service initiatives at the federal, regional, state and local levels, and facilitate the translation of research on autism into services and treatments that will improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. A national data repository will be created to share emerging data, findings, and treatment models.
National Training Initiative – Creates a national training initiative on autism and a technical assistance center to develop and expand interdisciplinary training and continuing education on autism spectrum disorders.
Insurance Coverage – Requires that health insurers cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, including Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy and assistive communication devices.
• This section is based on the Autism Speaks model insurance reform bill that has been used to craft bills in states across the country
• The bill currently has no age cap, dollar cap, or cap on the number of visits to a therapy provider
• The bill covers diagnosis of autism, as well as the following treatments:
o Medications prescribed by a physician and any health-related services necessary to determine the need or effectiveness of the medications
o Occupational therapy
o Physical therapy
o Speech therapy
o Services provided by a psychiatrist or psychologist
o Professional, counseling, and guidance services and treatment programs, including applied behavior analysis and other structured behavioral programs, communication devices and other assistive technology devices
• If passed, this federal bill will supersede all state laws and become the “floor” requirement for all insurance companies. However, a state may pass a law that enhances this federal law, going above and beyond what the federal law offers
• While state laws can only apply to fully-funded health plans, this bill will apply to all fully-funded and self-funded individual and group health plans, including state and local government plans (state and local government plans that are self-funded can opt-out of the requirement. This is true of current requirements, such as mental health parity)
• The House bill specifically applies to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) and TRICARE