The BACB is pleased to announce the publication of its new practice guidelines document: Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The guidelines were developed to provide guidance to health plans, consumers, and providers so that individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder receive applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment consistent with the best available scientific evidence and expert clinical opinion. This project was prompted by the recent passage of autism-insurance legislation in multiple states, which has left numerous insurers with a need to develop an infrastructure for defining and funding ABA treatment. Given the multiple unique features of ABA treatment in this area, the BACB wanted to ensure that insurers were provided with the best information possible for this task. Some of the unique features of ABA treatment that are addressed in the guidelines include: Training and Credentialing of Behavior Analysts; Assessment, Formulation of Treatment Goals, and Measurement of Client Progress; Service Authorization and Dosage; Tiered Service Delivery Models and Behavioral Technicians; and Clinical Management and Case Supervision. Although the guidelines are written primarily for insurers and health plans, they will also be useful for consumers and providers.
The BACB is pleased to offer this resource as a tool for general guidance and basic descriptions of typical ABA service delivery. As general guidelines, we expect that they will need to be tailored to fit individual, local, and regional requirements and needs.
Download the practice guidelines here.
Development of the Guidelines
The BACB Board of Directors authorized the development of practice guidelines for ABA treatment of ASD covered by health plans. A coordinator was appointed who then created a five-person oversight committee that designed the overall development process and content outline. The oversight committee then solicited additional content-area leaders and writers from a national pool of experts that included researchers and practitioners to produce a first draft of the guidelines. The coordinator, oversight committee, and BACB staff then generated a second draft that was reviewed by dozens of additional reviewers, which in addition to being comprised of experts in ABA, also included consumers and experts in public policy. This second draft was also sent to all BACB directors for additional input. The project coordinator and BACB staff then used this feedback to produce the final document, which was approved by the BACB Board of Directors. The professionals who served as coordinator, oversight committee members, content-area leaders, content writers, and reviewers were all subject matter experts in ABA as evidenced by publication records, substantial experience providing ABA services, and leadership positions within the discipline.
These standards are provided for informational purposes only, and do not represent professional or legal advice. There are many variables that influence and direct the professional delivery of ABA services. The BACB and authors of these standards assume no liability or responsibility for application of these standards in the delivery of ABA services. The standards presented in this document reflect the consensus of a number of subject matter experts, but do not represent the only acceptable practice. These standards also do not reflect or create any affiliation among those who participated in their development. The BACB does not warrant or guarantee that these standards will apply or should be applied in all settings. Instead, these standards are offered as an informational resource that should be considered in consultation with parents, behavior analysts, regulators, and third-party payers.