Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #145
CE Offered: BACB
Certification, Licensure, and Autism Insurance Law
Sunday, May 24, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
214A (CC)
Area: PRA/CSE; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Marc D'Antin (Brohavior)
Discussant: Gina Green (Association of Professional Behavior Analysts)
CE Instructor: Lea June, M.A.

A great deal of interest from funding entities, consumers, employers, and practitioners has occurred as a result of the demand for applied behavior analysis (ABA) services over the last several years. We are currently in an era of substantial growth in numbers of certified professionals and training programs in the United States (US). Funding sources like government agencies and health insurance plans prefer to exercise some oversight of credentialed professionals and are reasonably reluctant to pay for those who are not credentialed. As changes continue to occur very quickly, it is a very important time to be generally educated in these areas. Over the past year, licensure efforts have been fast paced, Autism Speaks has been extremely active in getting insurance laws passed in the US, and the international certification program of behavior analysis by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB) in conjunction with laws and regulations recognizing this credential has served a role in many licensure and insurance coverage efforts. The symposia presented today will cover all of these areas and then additionally provide graduate and recent graduate student perspectives on these issues.

Keyword(s): Insurance Law, legislation, licensure, public policy
What is Professional Certification?
MELISSA NOSIK (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Professional certification and licensure are similar means of credentialing professionals but there are also important differences to how they are established and managed. This presentation will describe the role of professional certification by private organizations within a discipline. Whereas state and national governments regulate many disciplines through systems such as licensure, which is written into statute, professional certification programs are typically operated by the discipline itself and are generally voluntary. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) currently operates the professional certification program for applied behavior analysis. The BACB’s certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), an organization that establishes best practices and legally defensible standards for organizations that issue professional credentials. We will provide descriptions in this presentation of the core mechanics of the BACB’s certification programs, how standards are generally developed in adherence with NCCA standards, and the current role of the BACB’s credentials and standards in existing US licensure laws.

Public Policies on the Practice of ABA: Status and Implications


Public policies affecting the practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are proliferating rapidly. They include but are not limited to: laws to license or otherwise regulate practitioners of ABA; other laws and regulations recognizing credentialed behavior analysts as qualified service providers; laws requiring certain private health plans to cover ABA services for people with autism; and policies governing coverage of ABA services by public health plans (Medicaid, TRICARE). The Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) has worked (and is currently working) with policymakers, regulators, behavior analysts, and consumers on many of those policies. An overview of current laws, regulations, and policies is provided, and their impact on current and future ABA practitioners and the field as a whole is discussed. Some emerging trends in the types of policies being adopted as well as successful and unsuccessful advocacy tactics are described. Finally, some suggestions for training behavior analysts to work in the public policy arena are offered.

Public Policies on the Coverage of ABA: Status and Implications
Abstract: In 2004, the New York Times wrote that “no disability claims more parental time and energy than autism.” Families dealing with autism face many hardships, not the least of which is financial hardship. One reason for the financial hardship is the failure of the health insurance industry to cover treatments for, and sometimes even diagnosis of, autism. As recently as the turn of the millennium, it was widely accepted that health insurance did not cover even the standard treatments for autism. Since 2007, there has been a fast-moving national movement toward autism insurance reform. More than 35 states have now enacted legislation requiring insurers to cover autism interventions, including ABA. In this session, we will examine the language of the new autism insurance laws, including a comparison of their key terms and features. We will learn about the different types of public and private health insurance plans, with a particular emphasis on recent activity in Medicaid policies. We will address the interrelationship between autism insurance laws and provider credentials and qualifications. Finally, we will discuss potential pitfalls that consumers may face when attempting to utilize benefits.

An Introduction to Certification, Licensure, and Autism Insurance Law for Graduate Students and New Professionals

LEA JUNE (Brohavior), Ryan Lee O'Donnell (Brohavior)

Established disciplines show stability in training programs, number of licensed or certified professionals, and changes to professional standards are often minimal. Contrary to this, behavior analysis is in an era of substantial growth, evidenced by changes in several areas: new training programs around the world, new legislation for licensing behavior analysts and in autism insurance laws in the US, and changes in standards at the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Consequently, it becomes important for professionals in the field, including graduate students, to be proactive with respect to these changes. First, staying current with respect to BACB standard changes and state specific licensure and insurance billing within the US. Secondly, involvement and support of these efforts with the guidance of local leaders on the matter, if there are no local leaders, becoming a leader with the guidance and support of our national professional organizations. In this presentation we will describe suggestions for (a) educational institutions to incorporate this information into curriculum (while maintaining BACB curriculum requirements) and (b) new graduates and professionals to find information on these topics as they pursue their behavior analysis careers in different parts of the world and country.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh