July 14, 2015
NESCA Neuropsychologist Dr. Stephanie Monaghan-Blout, the current president of the Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society, testified yesterday on Beacon Hill in support of "An Act to Provide Equal Access to Evaluations For Children With Disabilities," sponsored by Representative Tom Sannicandro (D - Ashland) and Senator Barbara L'Italien (D - Andover).
This bill, H.129 and S.87, would allow BSEA Hearing Officers to authorize payments for private evaluations at market rates in excess of the limit set by the State's Rate Setting Commission.
That so-called "State Rate," unadjusted in almost 20 years, is so low that few truly capable private evaluators will, or indeed can, afford to accept it. Those that do are scattered geographically and typically have very long waiting lists.
Refusal by school districts to pay more than the State Rate often means that families without private resources must either delay or forego the comprehensive and effective Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs) to which they are entitled by law.
For many children, this is a significant and discriminatory barrier to accessing the special education services they need and to which they are legally entitled; the children of more affluent families able to fund their evaluations privately have many more, and better options.
Please call or write to your State Representative and Senator to express your support of this important bill. You can find their contact information HERE.
DISCLOSURE: NESCA does not accept the State Rate.