Banner Sued For Denying Autism Treatment Coverage

By Will Stone
Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 4:28pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 9:06am

An employee of Banner Health is suing the hospital system for refusing to cover a form of treatment for autism.

The class-action lawsuit was filed earlier this month in federal court.

Micah Etter, a resident at Banner’s hospital in Tucson, sought out what’s known as Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy for his child. It’s widely accepted among health-care professionals as an approach to treat autism-related spectrum disorder, according to the CDC. 

But even after going through the appeals process, Banner still refused to cover the treatment, calling it “experimental.”

“This particular intervention for autism has long been respected as one of the mainstream approaches to the treatment, and so it’s factually incorrect to make the determination that it’s experimental," Anne Ronan with the Center for Law in the Public Interest, which is representing the plaintiffs, told KJZZ.

Ronan said Banner's denial of coverage violates federal law that ensures equal coverage for mental-health conditions. Her clients want the exclusion to be eliminated.

Banner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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