Monday, June 16, 2014

Survey Response: Dr. Ray Ward, House 19 primary candidate

Candidates for the June 24th 2014 primary elections were given the opportunity to respond to 3 questions relating to autism.  The following responses are from Ray Ward, running for Utah House District 19.

1)  Insurance Coverage:  SB57 was passed in the 2014 legislative session.  It goes into effect on January 1, 2016, and among other things, will require individual and large group plans to cover a limited amount of behavioral therapy for autistic children through age 9.  The bill has a sunset clause which will cause it to expire on January 1, 2019.  
Would you support renewal or expansion of SB57 if the costs prove to be manageable?

Ray Ward:


2)  Wandering:  Wandering (or elopement) is an issue that affects around half of children with ASD, as well as many people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  There are substantial costs involved with search efforts that often require emergency personnel.  There are also promising technologies, such as smartphones, GPS, and Bluetooth, which can help with tracking these individuals.  

Would you support efforts to:
  • better understand the extent of the wandering problem in Utah
  • promote training for emergency personnel 
  • identify technological solutions and help make them affordable for caregivers
Ray Ward:


3) Housing and Employment:  When autistic people transition out of the public school system, many of them need help with housing and employment.  According to the 2013 Annual Report of the Utah Division of Services for People with Disabilities, over 5,000 Utahns received services, and 80% of them had an intellectual disability.  Another 1,892 Utahns are on the waiting list.
Would you support steps to improve housing and employment opportunities for individuals with autism?
Ray Ward:
Probably, but I would need to understand better what the current rules are and what it is about them that makes them not work for those whose disabilities stem from Autism before having a clear opinion.