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Blue Cross Reverses Position on Autism After Federal Court Litigation Intensifies

DETROIT, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In federal court litigation, Johns v Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Case no. 08-cv-12272, Plaintiff Christopher Johns contends that Blue Cross illegally denied behavioral therapy to his autistic son, even though it was covered by his insurance policy. Plaintiff alleged that Blue Cross claimed that such therapy was "experimental" even though it was based on well-accepted scientific principles and was administered by such prestigious hospitals as Beaumont Hospital. In fact, during deposition testimony filed in federal court today, Blue Cross' corporate representative and Medical Director, Dr. Calmaze Dudley, conceded that applied behavioral therapy was supported by the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics and candidly admitted that he would want such therapy for his own children, if they had autism:

    Q.  Based on your research and your investigation, if you had a child
        with autism, would you want them to receive ABA therapy?

    A.  Probably.

In a motion filed today, seeking to compel Blue Cross to produce further witnesses and documents, Plaintiff's attorney, Gerard Mantese, was confident that he will establish that Blue Cross' defense to the lawsuit is meritless and is contradicted by significant medical and scientific evidence of the effectiveness of behavioral therapy.

After one year of federal court proceedings in the Johns case, Blue Cross today announced that it was offering new coverage for the treatment of children with autism. Plaintiff's attorney, Gerard Mantese, stated: "We are pleased that the pressure of our lawsuit has caused Blue Cross to take a step toward doing the right thing for these families. In fact, Blue Cross first mentioned to us last year that it would be providing some treatment coverage to autistic children, after we began filing papers in our federal court lawsuit. We are confident that our litigation will cause Blue Cross to provide further relief to families who have been arbitrarily denied coverage for a scientifically established treatment that allows these children to achieve greater levels of self-sufficiency."

    For further information, please contact:

    Gerard Mantese
    Mantese and Rossman, P.C.
    1361 E. Big Beaver Road
    Troy, Michigan 48083
    248-457-9200 (office)
    248-515-6419 (cell)

SOURCE Mantese and Rossman, P.C.
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