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Lawsuit: W.V. Board Threatens Autism Coverage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's new law expanding health coverage for children with autism may be approaching a regulatory roadblock.

A lawsuit alleges that an emergency rule recently adopted by the state Board of Examiners of Psychologists will hamstring the measure.

The new law will eventually require both public and private insurers to cover applied behavioral analysis. ABA therapy is considered crucial for many children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

The rule bars certified ABA therapists from practicing unless they're supervised by licensed psychologists. The rule says these therapists otherwise pose an immediate threat to public safety.

The lawsuit filed last week calls the rule an illegal power grab that disrupts needed therapy while driving up costs.

The board did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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