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H&SS Establishing Interim Working Group


H&SS reaching out to families, providers, insurance companies

Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Juneau, Alaska –House Health & Social Services Committee Co-Chair Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, today announced the creation of an Interim Working Group on Autism, intended to address the issue of Autism Spectrum Disorder’s (ASD) impact on Alaskans.

“This type of group effort is critical to establishing the bridge between those who need assistance, providers, insurance companies, and those who stand at the gate of the legislative process,” Keller said. “We need to be able to address the problems these families face. It’s our hope that this task force can find out if there is a legislative role in meeting families’ needs.”

Committee Vice-Chair Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, will oversee the three-person panel, which also includes House Rules Committee Chair Nancy Dahlstrom, R-Anchorage, and Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Kenai. H&SS Committee Co-Chair Bob Herron, D-Bethel, will serve as an ex-officio member of the group.

The group will hold hearings to learn about the challenges and demands families with autistic children face. They will hear from stakeholders, families, service providers, and insurance companies.

“Autism Spectrum Disorder is a challenge for Alaska families,” Keller said. “Though recent progress has been made in ASD treatment, we need to find out if there is more that can be done on the state’s end. The sooner a child is diagnosed, the sooner a child can be treated properly with fewer harmful impacts on the child and the family.”

The group will hold meetings throughout the 2010 Legislative Interim.

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