Autism Collaborative Center at Eastern Michigan University now offers direct billing for therapeutic services available to Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Care Network clients

Program offers comprehensive services in one locale

by Pamela Young, Published July 16, 2014

YPSILANTI – Insurance issues can be complicated for most people, but it becomes especially difficult for parents with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Now that may change.

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and Blue Care Network (BCN) have approved Eastern Michigan University’s Autism Collaborative Center (ACC) as a preferred provider.  As a preferred provider, the center will offer direct billing for therapeutic services for those clients enrolled in either insurance plan.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as preferred providers for Blue Cross and Blue Care Network,” said Pamela Lemerand, an EMU psychologist and ACC clinical director.  “In the five years that we’ve been opened, we’ve assembled a true dream-team of Master’s-level clinicians that specialize in autism spectrum disorder, providing evidence-based multidisciplinary treatment focused on the needs and goals of each individual client. We’re pleased that this insurance coverage is now available to help ease the financial burdens that many of our families face.”

Eastern’s autism program offers a comprehensive list of programs eligible for direct billing:

Applied Behavior Analysis:

  • Board certified behavior analysts oversee programming for intensive early intervention and supervise a highly trained team of behavior technicians who do 1-on-1 therapy with the youngest clients as the ‘learn how to learn.’

Speech and Language Therapy:

  • Two certified speech and language therapists promote improving communication and social skills with clients who may range from being nonverbal and who might need assistive technology devices for speech, to those who are working to refine conversation skills for help in more complex social interactions.

Occupational Therapy:

  • A licensed occupational therapist works on sensory processing, regulation and attention, fine motor skills and daily living activities of clients across the lifespan. The priority is to promote independence and self-management to the highest extent possible.

Psychology and Social Work Services:

  • Provides diagnostic evaluations and individual psychotherapy by a licensed psychologist with a doctoral degree and a clinical social worker/case coordinator.

Additional Services  (private-pay basis)

Music Therapy:

  • While not yet an insurance-billable service, music therapy is an integral part of the center’s clinical services. It is available on a private-pay basis and the state-funded Michigan Children’s Waiver to complement the other approaches. A board-certified music therapist shares the scientifically supported benefits of engaging in music for all clients.

 Recreation Therapy:

  • Recreation therapy is a social group of young adults who work with a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. This is available on an individual fee basis.

Disabilities are highly individualized to each person on the autism spectrum, but range from severe problems, with language and intellect to the inability to socialize, communicate and navigate their environment. There is no cure, but studies show that early intervention significantly improves a child’s development.

The ACC staff emphasizes the importance of organizing resources to reduce the burden for families dealing with autism.

The ACC also serves as a community center where people with autism and their families can come together in support of each other, have fun and meet new people. Programs are offered on interesting topics for family members; training is provided to community groups; and facilities are shared with community agencies that engage the clients.

For more on the Autism Collaborative Center at Eastern Michigan University, visit their homepage at or call 734.487.2890.


Pamela Young

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