Beyond ABA: Insurance coverage for RDI- A reality!

By Jenny Palmiotto

RDI3-270x300Just recently (April 8, 2014), solid gains were made in Sacramento to change AB2041, which is an assembly bill that clarifies the autism-treatment mandate to include therapies beyond ABA. Families should have the right to choice amongst medical treatments for autism. Although, there is still much work to be done to get this bill through Senate, we are fully grateful to the work done by Jim Lantry, Diane Cullinane, Dr. Josh Feder, and Dee Patel (to support this legislation-visit www.dirfloortimecoc.com). This legislation is so very important so that families do not have to fight on an individual bases for alternate treatments outside of ABA.

At this point, some insurance companies have authorized RDI for individual children. Currently, we work with Optum/United Behavioral Health and Blue-Shield Magellan. Other insurance carries may have willingness to consider this as a viable treatment option, yet many parents have not been informed of this possibility. We are the only company in the county that accepts insurance for RDI. We have licensed mental health clinicians that consult directly with each family and supervise the RDI program. We have been successful at getting both in-network and out-of network treatment authorized under ABA benefits. We offer distance consultation via secure-video consultation for those out of county whom do not have an RDI certified consultant whom takes health insurance.

What is RDI and why should insurance companies contract for it?

Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI) is a family-based, behavioral treatment designed to address autism’s core symptoms. It is based on the latest research on the brain, developmental psychology and autism. The focus of the program is to promote and enhance the individual’s social and emotional understanding rather than to teach specific discrete behaviors and skills. People on the autism spectrum – and with other neuro-developmental difficulties – often miss out on or fail to master many of the early developmental stages that typically-developing children learn effortlessly. RDI offers a second opportunity to master these early developmental stages.

RDI® is based on the basic premise that the parents (or caregivers) are the primary agents of change in a child’s life. As such, parents are trained to become the primary therapists or “guides” to their child, and the RDI Consultant provides the parents with the necessary tools, guidance and support to do so. RDI takes the entire family, its needs, life-style and culture into consideration when planning and implementing the program.

And, since RDI empowers parents as their child’s primary agent of change, the impact is not limited to the hours spent with a therapist. RDI becomes a way of life, interaction and communication that is “lived” during all waking hours.

RDI Consultants are trained to play a role as facilitators, tailoring programs based on the unique needs of each family. Consultants carefully transfer their abilities to parents over a series of clear objectives so parents can become fully independent in applying the essential tools. They help parents modify their communication, slow their pace and focus on the underlying opportunities available in their daily routines. Consultants teach parents to conduct observations and analysis of critical processes, breaking down large, complex abilities into manageable units. They construct clear, systematic assignments, individualized to the daily realities of the family and tailor what they do for each parent and child based on their needs. And, based on their professional expertise and experience, the consultants determine where developmentally to proceed as they move forward.

Advantages of RDI:

  • Acknowledges and empowers parents as their children’s primary agents of change.
  • With parents serving as primary agents of change, there is less of a need for therapist treatment = dramatically reduced cost of treatment.
  • Uses real life outcomes as the primary end goal of treatment rather than a series of discrete skills that become meaningless in real world situations.
  • It is a behavioral treatment based on the most current research in the fields of autism, human development and neurology.
  • Utilizes a balanced treatment planning process that considers the autism as well as other conditions or obstacles, and takes the needs of the whole family into account.
  • Enables families to live life while treating autism. Families experience the quality of life they deserve and learn how to make the remediation of autism a part of their everyday life rather than just part of therapy sessions.
  • Constantly evolving to reflect new research and information, ensuring that the program remains cutting-edge and relevant over time.
  • RDI® is highly cost-effective, with treatment costing up to 80% less than other behavioral intervention programs.

We are in network with the following insurance companies to offer autism related services:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Aetna
  • Blue Shield of California/MHSA
  • Optum /United Behavioral Health

IF YOU WOULD LIKE US TO CHECK YOUR INSURANCE, Please call 619-600-0683. We do all the hard work for you.

If you are uninsured and would still like to consider RDI as a treatment option for your family, we have several options for you. We offer sliding scale treatment for motivated families with financial need. We also are vendored to provide RDI with San Diego Regional Center, vendor # PQ8319.

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