By Thomas Farnsworth, M.S., BABAT Editorial Board Volunteer, New England Center for Children
Are you a BCBA or student of behavior analysis that longs for a convenient forum for hearing informed discussion about classic and contemporary research in the field? Then look no further than ABA Inside Track, the first podcast by behavior analysts for behavior analysts.
In early 2016, BABAT members Diana Parry-Cruwys, Robert Parry-Cruwys, and Jackie MacDonald launched ABA Inside Track. The trio describes themselves as “…behavior analysts with a dream of disseminating knowledge about research in the field of applied behavior analysis…” Though the work of dissemination is formally delegated to professional organizations, according to Morris (1985), “…the effectiveness of informal activities by individual behavior analysts should not be overlooked.” The group likens their podcast to a journal club -- something that is wonderful in theory, but may not be feasible in many cases due to time constraints and geography. In lieu of this, the program provides a platform for behavior analysts to contact research literature and stay current in the field. For those unfamiliar, a podcast is a digitally-formatted audio program available for automatic download over the internet. A strength of the podcast format is its portability. Indeed, with a smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player, behavior analysts can bring that journal club experience with them wherever they go, and while they are going there. Often times, people listen to podcasts while commuting, inspiring the program’s tagline, “It’s like reading in your car… but safer.”
Each episode of ABA Inside Track is a Type 2 CE Event, which means that it is a source for continuing education credits necessary to maintain board certification for BCBAs, BCBA-Ds, and BCaBAs.
The format of the program is that of a discussion between the host of the show (Robert) and co-hosts (Diana and Jackie), along with special guests who join in to discuss their own research. Each episode provides a structured opportunity to contact behavior analytic literature from peer-reviewed journals (e.g., JABA, BAP) by providing a summary of the article’s topic, methodology, results, and limitations. During the last segment of the program, “the dissemination station”, the hosts discuss future directions for research related to the topic and potential implications for practitioners. Bi-weekly episodes of the show cover 2-3 articles related to a given topic, or unrelated articles in “grab bag” episodes. Look for preview episodes that include previews of upcoming episodes, the hosts responding to listener mail, and erratum. While new to our field, use of digital media (e.g., wikis, blogs, and podcasts) as part of education and professional training in the medical field is increasingly prevalent (e.g., Cadogan, Thoma, Chan, & Lin, 2014) and may enhance the learning experiences of students and clinicians (Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006), suggesting the possibility of similar success within our own field.
Each episode of ABA Inside Track is a Type 2 CE Event, which means that it is a source for continuing education credits necessary to maintain board certification for BCBAs, BCBA-Ds, and BCaBAs. Per the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct (1.04), behavior analysts are obligated to maintain appropriate awareness of current scientific information in the field. Key words provided at various points throughout each episode allow listeners to purchase CEUs on the program’s website for a nominal fee (proceeds are invested into producing a higher-quality show, e.g., better production equipment), but the trio cautions listeners to use discretion in relying on their podcast for CEUs. Though they stand by the quality of their product in terms of intellectual rigor and entertainment value, which, in this author’s opinion is indeed commendable, they humbly encourage behavior analysts in the field to attend other continuing education opportunities including local conferences, in-person trainings, and other online resources.
To learn more about ABA Inside Track, you can visit their website (abainsidetrack.com), find them on social media (YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter), and, of course listen to their podcast, which is available through multiple podcast services (e.g., iTunes) on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Diana Parry-Cruwys received her M.S. in ABA through Northeastern University and her doctorate in behavior analysis from Western New England University. She is an assistant director at the New England Center for Children and teaches at Simmons College. Robert Parry-Cruwys received his M.S. in severe special needs from Simmons College and completed BCBA coursework through Northeastern University. He is currently a BCBA for a Massachusetts public school district. Jackie MacDonald also received her M.S. in ABA through Northeastern University and her doctorate in behavior analysis from Western New England University. She is currently an assistant professor at Regis College.
- Boulos, M.N.K., Maramba, I., & Wheeler, S. (2006). Wikis, blogs, and podcasts: A new generation of web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education. BMC Medical Evaluation, 6(41), 1-8.
- Cadogan, M., Thoma, B., Chan, T.M., & Lin, M. (2014). Free open access meducation (FOAM): The rise of emergency medicine and critical care blogs and podcasts (2002-2013). Emerg Med J, 0, 1-2.
- Morris, E. K. (1985). Public information, dissemination, behavior analysis. The Behavior Analyst, 8, 95-110.
Some Challenges Facing ABA Practitioners Within Insurance-Funded ABA Services
- By Ashley Williams, M.S. Behavior Analysis, LABA, BCBA, BABAT Professional Practice Committee Volunteer, ABACS, Simmons College
- By Brandon Herscovitch, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D , BABAT Professional Practice Chair, ABACS
A Brief Chronology Leading to Insurance-Funded ABA Services in New England
Within the past decade, legislation has changed rapidly in the Northeast, resulting in funding for ABA services becoming available to the vast majority of children with autism in need of such services. In New England, autism insurance reform began in Connecticut in June of 2009 and just two years later, by June of 2011, all six New England states had passed legislation that mandated increased insurance coverage for children with autism (Autism Speaks, 2017a). Simultaneously, each state experienced changes in funding and access to care as a result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed in to law in March of 2010 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 2010). The most notable of changes occurred in January, 2014, when ABA was included as an essential health benefit for qualified health plans in 5 of the 6 New England states (i.e., Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont; Autism Speaks, 2017b). Licensure of behavior analysts further expanded the network coverage of behavior analysts in states where licensing for behavior analysts has been enacted.
With these legislative changes, appropriately credentialed ABA providers could bill services to insurers. Initially, many insurers used HCPCS codes, or “H-codes”, to reimburse ABA services (e.g., H0031, H0032, H2019, H2012), then in 2014 the American Medical Association (AMA) released the temporary codes (e.g., 0359T, 0360T, etc.) outlined in the CPT Assistant (American Medical Association, 2014).
Inevitably, such a dramatic shift in landscape of funding for Applied Behavior Analysis has been incredibly beneficial to our field and our clients, though it has also been fraught with challenges. Our field’s entry in to the medical arena has been a learning curve for practitioners. Behavior analysts must now wear many hats – negotiator, policymaker, advocate, and medical billing specialist, to name a few. Five crucial challenges facing behavior analysts today are described below.
The Challenges We Face