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By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Today we released our most detailed report to date about the results of the first reporting period of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The numbers show that interest in the Health Insurance Marketplace remains strong and the promise of quality, affordable coverage is becoming a reality for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Between October 1 and November 2, 2013, 106,185 individuals selected plans from the Marketplace and another 975,407 applied and received an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. An additional 396,261 were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In total, 502,446 Americans will be positioned to have health coverage starting in 2014.
As we’ve seen in Massachusetts’s efforts to expand coverage, I expect the number of newly insured to grow substantially throughout the open enrollment period. Our efforts to improve HealthCare.gov will be critical to driving new enrollments and meeting consumer demand.
As a further indication of high consumer interest, web traffic and call center volume also continues to be very heavy. During the first reporting period, there have been over 26 million unique visitors to Marketplace websites and over 3.1 million calls to the call centers.
While we know there is still a lot of work to do to make sure every American that wants access to affordable coverage can have it, there are many encouraging takeaways from today’s report.
For the full text of the report, “Health Insurance Marketplace: November Enrollment Report,” please visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketPlaceEnrollment/rpt_enrollment.pdf
Nevada has a state supported exchange, meaning we don’t need to use the national website. We can go to our own exchange website. If you don’t have employer provided insurance and will need to enroll for insurance, VISIT THE NEVADA HEALTH LINK NOW TO APPLY today.
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives. This is the first guidance issued by HHS in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
“HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”
“Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Prior to this, a beneficiary in a same-sex marriage enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan did not have equal access to such coverage and, as a result, could have faced time away from his or her spouse or higher costs because of the way that marriage was defined for this purpose.”
Under current law, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan are entitled to care in, among certain other skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), the SNF where their spouse resides (assuming that they have met the conditions for SNF coverage in the first place, and the SNF has agreed to the payment amounts and other terms that apply to a plan network SNF). Seniors with Medicare Advantage previously may have faced the choice of receiving coverage in a nursing home away from their same-sex spouse, or dis-enrolling from the Medicare Advantage plan which would have meant paying more out-of-pocket for care in the same nursing home as their same-sex spouse.
Today’s guidance clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to all married couples. The guidance specifically clarifies that this guarantee of coverage applies equally to couples who are in a legally recognized same-sex marriage, regardless of where they live.
— by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits some of the worst insurance industry practices that have kept affordable health coverage out of reach for millions of Americans. It provides families and individuals with new protections against discriminatory rates due to pre-existing conditions, holds insurance companies accountable for how they spend your premium dollars, and prevents insurance companies from raising your insurance premium rates without accountability or transparency.
For more than a decade before the ACA health insurance premiums had risen rapidly, straining the pocketbooks of American families and businesses. Oftentimes, insurance companies were able to raise rates without explanation to consumers or public justification of their actions.
One of the provisions of the ACA is that insurance companies must now reveal the percentage of premium dollars they actually spend on health care and how much they spend on administration (e.g., salaries and marketing. Prior to ACA, this type of information was a closely held secret and insurance companies pocketed a good percentage of your premium dollars. With ACA in place, that’s no longer the case. If an insurance company spends less than 80% of premiums on medical care and quality (or less than 85% in the large employer, large group market), it must rebate the portion of premium dollars that exceeded this limit. This 80/20 rule is commonly known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule
Rate Review in Action
The ACA brought an unprecedented level of scrutiny and transparency to health insurance rate increases by requiring insurance companies in every state to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10% or more. Insurance companies are required to provide easy to understand information to their customers about their reasons for significant rate increases, and any unreasonable rate increases are posted online.
And it’s working. A new report released today shows that the health care law is helping to moderate premium hikes. Since this rule was implemented, the number of requests for insurance premium increases of 10% or more has dropped dramatically, from 75% to 14%. The average premium increase for all rates in 2012 was 30% below what it was in 2010. And available data suggest that this slowdown in rate increases has continued into 2013.
Moreover, when an insurer does decide to increase rates, consumers are seeing lower rate increases than what the insurers initially requested. In the review of rate requests for 10% or more, over 50% resulted in customers receiving either a lower rate increase than requested or no increase at all.
States have received $250 million in Health Insurance Rate Review Grants to help strengthen and improve their rate review processes thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Of the 44 states that received rate review grants, 40 have reported enhancements to their rate review websites. These website enhancements include searchable rate filings, new public comment options, live streaming of rate hearings, and plain language explanations of rate review and rate filings.
The Effective Rate Review program is one of many in the health care law aimed at protecting consumers. The rate review program works in conjunction with the 80/20 rule, which requires insurance companies to generally spend 80% of premiums on health care or provide rebates to their customers. Insurance companies that did not meet the 80/20 rule have provided nearly 13 million Americans with more than $1.1 billion in rebates. Americans receiving the rebate will benefit from an average rebate of $151 per household.
Additionally, today we issued a final rule that implements five key consumer protections from the Affordable Care Act, including protection against denial of health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. This rule makes the health insurance market work better for individuals, families and small businesses, and it also increases the transparency brought to rate increases by directing insurance companies in every state to file all of their rate increase requests.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/index.html.
- Insurance Analysts: Obamacare to Increase Out-of-Pocket Premium Costs, Despite Lavish Subsidies (Forbes, 1/12/2013)
- Proof That Obamacare ‘Rate Shock’ Is An Ugly Insurance Company Deception (Forbes, 3/26/2013)
- Obamacare to Hike Some, Lower Other Individual Health Premiums: Sebelius (Insurance Journal, 3/27/2013)
- Some health insurance premium hikes reduced (Orange County Register, 3/7/2013)
- Insurance Companies Warn of Premium Hikes (Hispanic Business.com, 3/22/2013)
- The Hidden Cost of A Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion in the PPACA (Benefits@Work, 3/24/2013)
The Obama administration moved forward today to implement provisions in the health care law that would make it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The provisions of the Affordable Care Act also would make it easier for consumers to compare health plans and employers to promote and encourage employee wellness.
“The Affordable Care Act is building a health insurance market that works for consumers,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Thanks to the health care law, no one will be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition.”
“The Affordable Care Act recognizes that well-run, equitable workplace wellness programs allow workers to access services that can help them and their families lead healthier lives,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Employers, too, can benefit from reduced costs associated with a healthier workforce.”
The Obama administration issued:
- A proposed rule that, beginning in 2014, prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals because of a pre-existing or chronic condition. Under the rule, insurance companies would be allowed to vary premiums within limits, only based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to any American because of a pre-existing condition or from charging higher premiums to certain enrollees because of their current or past health problems, gender, occupation, and small employer size or industry. The rule would ensure that people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable, and young adults, have access to a catastrophic coverage plan in the individual market. For more information regarding this rule, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/market-reforms11202012a.html.
- A proposed rule outlining policies and standards for coverage of essential health benefits, while giving states more flexibility to implement the Affordable Care Act. Essential health benefits are a core set of benefits that would give consumers a consistent way to compare health plans in the individual and small group markets. A companion letter on the flexibility in implementing the essential health benefits in Medicaid was also sent to states. For more information regarding this rule, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/ehb11202012a.html.
- A proposed rule implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs to promote health and help control health care spending, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status. For more information regarding this rule, visit:http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/wellness11202012a.html
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2012
|Contact: U.S. Dept of HHS
The health care law – the Affordable Care Act – has saved consumers an estimated $2.1 billion on health insurance premiums according to a new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. For the first time ever, new rate review rules in the health care law prevent insurance companies in all states from raising rates with no accountability or transparency. To date, rate review has helped save an estimated $1 billion for Americans. Additionally, the law’s Medical Loss Ratio (or 80/20) rule is helping deliver rebates worth $1.1 billion to nearly 13 million consumers.
“The health care law is holding insurance companies accountable and saving billions of dollars for families across the country,” Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Thanks to the law, our health care system is more transparent and more competitive, and that’s saving Americans real money.”
Beginning Sept. 1, 2011, the health care law implemented federal rate review standards. These rules ensure that, in every state, insurance companies are required to publicly submit for review and justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.
To assist states in this effort, the Affordable Care Act provides states with Health Insurance Rate Review Grants to enhance their rate review programs and bring greater transparency to the process. 42 states have used their rate review grant funds to make the rate review process stronger and more transparent.
These rules have brought more transparency and accountability to our health insurance marketplace and saved money for consumers. The report released today shows that because of rate review, consumers saved approximately $1 billion in premiums in the individual and small group markets.
This initiative is one of many in the health care law aimed at saving money for consumers and specifically works in conjunction with the 80/20 rule, which requires insurance companies to generally spend 80 percent of premiums on health care or provide rebates to their customers. Insurance companies that did not meet the 80/20 rule will provide nearly 13 million Americans with more than $1.1 billion in rebates this year. Americans receiving the rebate will benefit from an average rebate of $151 per household. The rate review report released today is available at: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/reports/rate-review09112012a.html.
Information on how states are using their rate review grant funds is available at:http://www.healthcare.gov/law/resources/reports/rate-review09202011a.pdf (PDF – 268 KB)
General information about rate review is available at: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/costs/rate-review/
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2012
|Contact: HHS Press Office
2.4 million people with Medicare to receive better, more coordinated care
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today, that as of July 1, 89 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C. ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare.
These 89 new ACOs have entered into agreements with CMS, taking responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
“Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We applaud every one of these doctors, hospitals, health centers and others for working together to ensure millions of people with Medicare get better, more patient-centered, coordinated care.”
Participation in an ACO is purely voluntary for providers. The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and other initiatives related to ACOs, is made possible by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Federal savings from this initiative could be up to $940 million over four years.
“This new group of ACOs adds to a solid foundation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The Medicare ACO program opened for business in January and, already, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in these important initiatives.”
The 89 ACOs announced today bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011. In all, as of July 1, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.
The selected ACOs operate in a wide range of areas of the country and almost half are physician-driven organizations serving fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries, demonstrating that smaller organizations are interested in operating as ACOs. Their models for coordinating care and improving quality vary in response to the needs of the beneficiaries in the areas they are serving.
To ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely, an ACO must meet quality standards. For 2012, CMS has established 33 quality measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.
Beginning this year, new ACO applications will be accepted annually. The application period for organizations that wish to participate in the MSSP beginning in January 2013 is from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6, 2012. More information, including application requirements, is available at http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/sharedsavingsprogram/Application.html
To learn more about the ACOs announced today, visit: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp
|OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2012
|Contact: HHS Press Office
Medicare Fraud Strike Force charges 107 individuals for approximately $452 million in false billing
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities has resulted in charges against 107 individuals, including doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $452 million in false billing.
Attorney General Holder and Secretary Sebelius were joined in the announcement by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Deputy Director Sean Joyce, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Gary Cantrell of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Dr. Peter Budetti, Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
This coordinated takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history.
HHS also suspended or took other administrative action against 52 providers following a data-driven analysis and credible allegations of fraud. The new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, significantly increased HHS’ ability to suspend payments until an investigation is complete.
The joint Department of Justice and HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a multi-agency team of federal, state and local investigators designed to combat Medicare fraud through the use of Medicare data analysis techniques. More than 500 law enforcement agents from the FBI, HHS-OIG, multiple Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and other state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the takedown. In addition to making arrests, agents also executed 20 search warrants in connection with ongoing Strike Force investigations.
“The results we are announcing today are at the heart of an administration-wide commitment to protect American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can drive up costs and threaten the strength and integrity of our health care system,” said Attorney General Holder. “We are determined to bring to justice those who violate our laws and defraud the Medicare program for personal gain. As today’s takedown reflects, our ongoing fight against health care fraud has never been more coordinated and effective.”
“Today’s arrests send a strong message to criminals that the consequences of committing Medicare fraud are serious,” said HHS Secretary Sebelius. “In addition to these arrests, we used new authority from the health care law to stop all future payments to 52 health care providers suspected of fraud before they are ever made. Today’s actions are another example of how the Affordable Care Act is helping the Obama administration fight fraud and strengthen Medicare.”
The defendants charged are accused of various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes and money laundering. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services such as home health care, mental health services, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment (DME) and ambulance services.
According to court documents, the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and oftentimes never provided. In many cases, court documents allege that patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries and other co-conspirators were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, so that the providers could submit fraudulent billing to Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided. Collectively, the doctors, nurses, licensed medical professionals, health care company owners and others charged are accused of conspiring to submit a total of approximately $452 million in fraudulent billing.
“As charged in the indictments, these fraud schemes were committed by people up and down the chain of health care providers,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Today’s operations mark the fourth in a series of historic Medicare fraud takedowns over the past two years. These indictments remind us that Medicare is an attractive target for criminals. But it should also remind those criminals that they risk prosecution and prison time every time they submit a false claim.”
“Health care fraud is not a victimless crime,” said FBI Deputy Director Joyce. “Every person who pays for health care benefits, every business that pays higher insurance costs to cover their employees, every taxpayer who funds Medicare—all are victims. The FBI will continue to work closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to address health care vulnerabilities, fraud and abuse. We will use every tool we have to ensure our health care dollars are used to care for the sick—not to line the pockets of criminals.”
“Today more than 200 OIG Special Agents, Forensic Examiners and Analysts have deployed throughout the country to ensure that those responsible for committing Medicare fraud are held accountable,” said HHS-OIG Deputy Inspector General Cantrell. “OIG is committed to the strike force model and will continue to use advanced data analytics along with traditional investigative methods to root out those who steal from our Medicare program.”
In Miami, a total of 59 defendants, including three nurses and two therapists, were charged today and yesterday for their participation in various fraud schemes involving a total of $137 million in false billings for home health care, mental health services, occupational and physical therapy, DME and HIV infusion. Two of these 59 defendants were originally charged in April 2012 but were indicted on additional charges today. In one case, 10 defendants were charged for participating in a fraud scheme at Health Care Solutions Network, which led to approximately $63 million in fraudulent billing for community mental health center (CMHC) services. Court documents allege that therapists at Health Care Solutions Network were instructed to alter notes and other medical documents to justify CMHC services for beneficiaries who did not need the services.
Seven individuals were charged today in Baton Rouge, La., for participating in a fraud scheme involving $225 million in false claims for CMHC services. The case represents the largest CMHC-related scheme ever prosecuted by the Strike Force. According to court documents, the defendants recruited beneficiaries from nursing homes and homeless shelters, some of whom were drug addicted or mentally ill, and provided them with no services or medically inappropriate services.
In Houston, nine individuals, including one doctor and one nurse, were charged today with fraud schemes involving a total of $16.4 million in false billings for home health care and ambulance services. According to court documents, the owners and operators of four different ambulance companies billed Medicare for ambulance rides that were medically unnecessary.
Eight defendants, including two doctors, were charged in Los Angeles for their roles in schemes to defraud Medicare of approximately $14 million. In one case, two individuals allegedly billed Medicare for more than $8 million in fraudulent billing for DME.
In Detroit, 22 defendants, including four licensed social workers, were charged for their roles in fraud schemes involving approximately $58 million in false claims for medically unnecessary services, including home health, psychotherapy and infusion therapy.
In Tampa, Fla., a pharmacist was charged with illegal diversion of controlled substances. One defendant was charged last week in Chicago for his alleged role in a scheme to submit approximately $1 million in false billing to Medicare for psychotherapy services.
The Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have falsely billed Medicare for more than $4 billion. In addition, the CMS, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
The cases announced today are being prosecuted and investigated by Strike Force teams comprised of attorneys from the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and from the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Southern District of Florida, the Eastern District of Michigan, the Southern District of Texas, the Central District of California, the Middle District of Louisiana, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Middle District of Florida, and agents from the FBI, HHS-OIG and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.
An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
To learn more about HEAT, go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2012
|Contact: HHS Press Office
Medicaid and Medicare introduce greater flexibility for beneficiaries to receive care at home or in settings of their choice
New opportunities in Medicaid and Medicare that will allow people to more easily receive care and services in their communities rather than being admitted to a hospital or nursing home were announced today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
HHS finalized the Community First Choice rule, which is a new state plan option under Medicaid, and announced the participants in the Independence At Home Demonstration program. The demonstration encourages primary care practices to provide home-based care to chronically ill Medicare patients.
Both are made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Studies have shown that home- and community-based care can lead to better health outcomes.
“We know that people frequently prefer to receive services in their own homes and communities whenever possible. The rule and demonstration announced today give people choice and provide states with flexibility to design programs that better meet the needs of beneficiaries,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act, many families had few choices beyond nursing homes or other institutions for their loved ones. The actions taken today will help change that and can lead to better health for these individuals.”
The final rule released today on the Community First Choice Option provides states choosing to participate in this option a six percentage point increase in federal Medicaid matching funds for providing community-based attendant services and supports to beneficiaries who would otherwise be confined to a nursing home or other institution.
Also today, the first 16 organizations that will participate in the new Independence at Home Demonstration were announced. They will test whether delivering primary care services in the home can improve the quality of care and reduce costs for patients living with chronic illnesses. These 16 organizations were selected from a competitive pool of more than 130 applications representing hundreds of health care providers interested in delivering this new model of care.
The Independence at Home demonstration, which is voluntary for Medicare beneficiaries, provides chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries with a complete range of in-home primary care services. Under the demonstration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will partner with primary care practices led by physicians or nurse practitioners to evaluate the extent to which delivering primary care services in a home setting is effective in improving care for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions and reducing costs. Up to 10,000 Medicare patients with chronic conditions will be able to get most of the care they need at home.
The demonstration is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2012, and conclude May 31, 2015.
HHS is also seeking comment on a proposed rule that describes a separate Home and Community-Based Services state plan option, which was originally authorized in 2005 then enhanced by the Affordable Care Act. Like the Community First Choice Option, this benefit will make it easier for states to provide Medicaid coverage for home and community-based services.
“Our goal is to provide person-centered support to every Medicare and Medicaid beneficiary, regardless of their physical ability or chronic health conditions,” Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said. “These services and programs will help keep these individuals’ health stable, and keep them home where they want to be, while giving us even more tools to achieve better care for the patient, better health for the population, all at lower costs.”
The announcements made today are one part of the Obama administration’s efforts to help people with disabilities and those living with chronic illness stay in their own homes when they wish to do so. Earlier this month, Secretary Sebelius announced the creation of the new Administration for Community Living, bringing together key HHS organizations and offices dedicated to improving the lives of Americans with functional needs into one coordinated and stronger entity. This new agency will work on increasing access to community supports and achieving full community participation for seniors and people with disabilities.
For more information on the Administration for Community Living visit: http://www.hhs.gov/acl/.
For more information on the Community First Choice Option visit: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.
For more information on the Independence at Home demonstration and the organizations selected to participate visit:http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/independence-at-home.
The rules may be viewed at www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study released today that looked at data from 14 communities. Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 54 boys identified.
The number of children identified with ASDs ranged from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah. The largest increases were among Hispanic and black children.
The report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, provides autism prevalence estimates from 14 areas. It was published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“This information paints a picture of the magnitude of the condition across our country and helps us understand how communities identify children with autism,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “That is why HHS and our entire administration has been working hard to improve the lives of people living with autism spectrum disorders and their families by improving research, support, and services.”
“One thing the data tells us with certainty – there are more children and families that need help,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children.”
The results of CDC’s study highlight the importance of the Obama administration’s efforts to address the needs of people with ASDs, including the work of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The IACC’s charge is to facilitate ASD research, screening, intervention, and education. As part of this effort, the National Institutes of Health has invested in research to identify possible risk factors and effective therapies for people with ASDs.
Study results from the 2008 surveillance year show 11.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children have been identified as having an ASD. This marks a 23 percent increase since the last report in 2009. Some of this increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown. “To understand more, we need to keep accelerating our research into risk factors and causes of autism spectrum disorders,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., M.S.Hyg., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
The study also shows more children are being diagnosed by age 3, an increase from 12 percent for children born in 1994 to 18 percent for children born in 2000. “Unfortunately, 40 percent of the children in this study aren’t getting a diagnosis until after age 4. We are working hard to change that,” said Boyle.
The most important thing for parents to do is to act quickly whenever there is a concern about a child’s development.
- Talk to your child’s doctor about your concerns.
- Call your local early intervention program or school system for an assessment.
- Remember you do not need a diagnosis to access services for your child.
To learn more about this study, visit www.cdc.gov/autism.
For information on CDC’s tools to help families track their child’s development, visitwww.cdc.gov/actearly
To learn more about the research CDC is doing on autism, visitwww.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/research.html.
To learn more about the Administration’s commitment to combating autism, visit http://www.hhs.gov/autism/factsheet_autism_support.html.
CDC works 24/7saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money to have a more secure nation. Whether these threats are chronic or acute, manmade or natural, human error or deliberate attack, global or domestic, CDC is the U.S. health protection agency.