UMass Medical School leaders appointed to statewide Autism Commission

February 02, 2015

Two UMass Medical School leaders have received gubernatorial appointments to the state Autism Commission, a 35-member body created by legislation and charged with continuing the work of the group whose recommendations led to passage of landmark legislation in 2014.

Amy K. Weinstock, founding director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; and Carolyn S. Langer, MD, JD, MPH, MassHealth chief medical officer and director of the Office of Clinical Affairs, were appointed to the commission late last year. Weinstock and Langer, whose units are in the Commonwealth Medicine division, bring not only critical professional expertise to the commission, but a deep personal commitment as parents of young adults on the autism spectrum.

The commission’s predecessor issued a March 2013 report that resulted in a comprehensive new law expanding public insurance coverage for autism treatments, adult eligibility for DDS services, teacher training, and other key services. In the summer of 2014, Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed into law the Autism Omnibus bill, which requires Massachusetts public insurance programs to cover medically necessary treatments for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the commission will focus on the long-term needs of individuals with autism, including higher education, housing and employment. The commission will file an annual report.