On Monday, the state legislature gave final approval to legislation introduced by House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) and Senate Majority Whip Jim Perry (R-Lenoir) to streamline and expand access to care for children with autism.
The bill, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Currently, North Carolina is the only state in the country where behavior analysts who provide highly effective treatment to children with autism are required to operate under the supervision of licensed psychologists. This has had led to fewer providers, higher costs, and limited access to treatment, particularly in rural areas.
To remove this barrier and expand access to care for children with autism, the legislation will allow behavior analysts to operate independently and provide treatment directly to those in need, which they are already qualified to do.
House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), who was the primary bill sponsor in the House, said, “This bill is a game-changer for thousands of families affected by autism in North Carolina. Thank you to our former colleague Rep. Chuck McGrady and those before us who worked so hard in previous sessions to get this much-needed bill approved.”
“By streamlining these regulations, this bill will expand access to treatment and reduce costs for children with autism in North Carolina,” said Senator Perry (R-Lenoir), who is the primary bill sponsor in the Senate and co-chairman of the Senate Health Committee. “This is a huge win for these families, especially in rural areas that are in desperate need for more providers.”