Tonya Hales, who oversees community-based Medicaid services for the Utah Department of Health, acknowledges barriers exist for rural families.
But early delays in care were unavoidable because providers didn't have the staff to immediately respond to dozens of families suddenly seeking services, she
On June 1, there were 20 families still waiting for their first therapy visit, she
By the end of June, there were six, some due to tight family schedules or a switch in providers.
Initially, Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties didn't receive enough applications to fill their allocated number of slots.
Reporting early progress to Utah lawmakers will be a challenge, Hales
"But I think we'll have a baseline measurement and six-month update for about 150 to 170 children by this fall."
Most rural and urban families in the pilot program report great satisfaction, she
"We're happy with the way the program has gone, considering the complexity of it."
O On Tuesday at noon, Jennifer Napier-Pearce will moderate a Trib Talk live video chat at sltrib.com about Utah's free autism treatment program, joined by Tonya Hales, of Utah's Department of Health, and Utah Autism Coalition President Jon Owen.