Covenant Opens New Autism Center

Posted Date: 2/21/2014

To better serve our community and address the needs of local children with autism spectrum disorders, Covenant HealthCare recently opened the Covenant Center for Autism in Bay City.

"Early behavior interventions are key to successful treatment of autism,” said Christine Clayton, director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “That is why we felt it important to support the development of the Covenant Center for Autism. Treatment options have been limited for our community and parents with children found themselves traveling many miles and hours to receive such treatment. Now, treatment is more readily available and practically at their back door."

The facility located at 2919 E. Wilder Road in Bay City, officially opened in November. It offers a diagnostic section (suite 220) to confirm a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and provide treatment recommendations. The adjacent suite (240) hosts “Gabe’s Place” the treatment center.

Gabe’s Place provides intensive behavior intervention and speech therapy services 20-40 hours a week. It is a five day a week program that is similar to a school in structure.  All patients have a one-on-one therapist present at all times (Classroom Behavior Therapists or CBTs). During the course of the day, they are working on social, play, preschool readiness, adaptive living, and preschool readiness skills, as well as the reduction of maladaptive behaviors. Each patient has an individualized treatment plan that is monitored and modified by the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

The center was recently designated as an Approved Autism Evaluation Center (AAEC) by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The AAEC designation is awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield to medical facilities in their network that have demonstrated the following criteria:

  • The Center uses a multidisciplinary approach by specialists with significant experience diagnosing and treating autism.
  • The Center employs a board-certified pediatrician, developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist; a fully licensed pediatric neuropsychologist, board-certified child psychiatrist or fully licensed child psychologist; and a speech and language therapist.

For applied behavior analysis treatment to be covered, members are required to go to a BCBSM- or BCN-approved autism evaluation center, or AAEC.

The Covenant HealthCare Center for Autism is the only center in the Great Lakes Bay Region to receive this certification.

Covenant will now be listed on the BCBSM and BCN web pages as a designated AAEC using the following link:

For more information on the Covenant Center for Autism, call 989.671.5738, or send an email to

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