The Autism Insurance Resource Center at UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center honored Disability Evaluation Services Client Service Manager Kathleen Nichols May 2 with the Champion Award for her unwavering commitment to serving people with disabilities in Massachusetts.
Nichols has made a dramatic difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families, taking the time to thoroughly explain potential pitfalls in the complex Disability Determination process that could prevent them from receiving services they deserve. She invests in people who need help, working with them one-on-one and in group settings through webinars and trainings. She’s also been there to assist when urgent situations arise for expedited approvals.
Nichols was given the award for diligently working to ensure people with disabilities get the support they need when they need it.
Since joining UMass Medical School’s Disability Evaluation Services in 2000, Nichols has set the bar, spearheading multiple cutting-edge customer service and quality improvement initiatives. She performs statewide disability evaluation services outreach and education to Massachusetts hospitals and health care providers, and oversees the customer service process for Disability Evaluation Services. In 2010, she was the recipient of the University of Massachusetts Excellence in Public Service Award.
Nichols’ career spans more than 30 years, with customer service, community health outreach and business management experience in both the public- and private-sector, and with the disability determination process for the state of Massachusetts.
The Autism Insurance Resource Center was founded in March 2011 after Massachusetts passed a law that requires private insurance coverage of medically necessary autism treatment. The resource center assists families and caregivers in accessing and using health insurance to meet the needs of children and adults on the autism spectrum and assists providers, employers and educators on issues related to medical insurance for autism treatment.