social media platforms for aba therapy

Best Social Media Platforms for Your ABA Therapy Business

For many ABA therapy businesses, promoting their services is often done through traditional marketing methods and word of mouth.

That said, we’re seeing more and more practices starting to embrace online marketing initiatives.

You can’t talk about successful online marketing without the use of social media platforms.

Social media can be a powerful asset for your ABA therapy business and when harnessed correctly, it can exponentially grow your reach online.

If you don’t have much experience of marketing your ABA therapy business on social media, the thought of getting started can feel daunting.

To help clear things up and arm you with the information and insights you need, we’ve put together this guide.

Read on to find out about the best social media platforms for your ABA therapy business to use.

Why Social Media Matters for You

If your business wants to find new people to work with and new patients interested in what you’re offering, it’s important to reach out to people and to get your name out there.

Lots of daily activity that happens on social media, which is why your business needs to be active and part of the conversation.

Social media is about more than the normal personal things we all share, like what you ate for breakfast or what new album you are listening to.

It’s also space for businesses to connect with customers and to build a following that’ll help them grow over time.

With the right approach and quality content, you’ll connect with lots of people who wouldn’t otherwise have known your business even existed.

Identify Your Goals

Before you can construct an effective social media strategy, you first need to clearly identify your goals and what you want to achieve.

The right approach will only be found when you know which outcomes you and your team are working towards.

For some professionals, that might be about expanding your reach, for others it could be about recruiting or making industry connections and contacts.

These are very different aims and will require different approaches to social media.

The content that will land well with industry professionals will have a different, more specialized and informed tone than the content parents interested in your services might enjoy and benefit from.

Different social media platforms will be well- or not so well-suited to various goals and approaches.

Below, we’ll talk about the best platforms available and what they can offer below to help you get an idea of which of them will benefit your business most.

Which Platforms You Should Consider Using

Here’s more information about each of the top social media platforms, what they’re good for and why you should (or shouldn’t) use them.

From there, you can decide which you think will best suit your ABA therapy business and what you want to achieve going forward.

Twitter

If you have an existing audience, Twitter is a good platform to make use of.

It’s the platform to use if you’re looking to stay on top of trends that are being talked about by users online and around the globe.

If you’re not looking to make use of trending topics as a way of promoting your business, and don’t already have an established audience, Twitter is not the ideal platform for you to focus your efforts and attention on. 

If you use Twitter, be sure to stay on top of new conversations and remember to take a unique approach each day.

Trends emerge out of the blue, and if they’re relevant to your business, be fast in leveraging them appropriately to your marketing advantage.

Instagram

Instagram is the most visual social media platform, and that’s why it’s ideal for giving customers a glimpse of what your business does.

That said, it can be a hard platform to master, as a cohesive and visual aesthetic is essential.

It’s about creating captivating images that grab the attention of parents who might be interested in the services you offer.

It tends to be a younger audience on this platform, but there’s a good range of ages for you to appeal to with the right images and graphic content.

Creativity will be key when using Instagram, so don’t shy away from expressive content that goes beyond what you might create for other social media platforms.

It’s about drawing people in and making people take notice.

When you’re competing for attention on a platform like Instagram, only visually engaging and thoughtful content will cut through the way you need it to.

Facebook

Facebook is by far the biggest social media platform out there right now, and businesses of all kinds should be using it.

For the best outcomes, it makes sense to use paid promotions to increase the reach of your Facebook page and get more people visiting it and interacting with it.

You should remember that for many adults, a Facebook page will be the first glimpse people will have of your business. 

First impressions matter when marketing your business on social media.

Ensure your business comes across in a way that’s presentable and establishes a tone that’s appealing and appropriate for the audience you’re looking to engage with.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the platform to use if your focus is on recruiting new staff to work for your business.

It’s also good for making industry contacts that might aid your business in one of many potential ways.

Content produced for this platform should be professional and use a tone that suits that kind of audience.

It might not be a platform you feel a need to use urgently, but it might be something to look into when your business expands, especially with its organic reach at an all-time high.

Having strong industry contacts and a professional presence online within that industry is recommended to grow your ABA therapy business.

What to Post and What Not To

What you post (and what you don’t post) on your social media channels will depend on several factors.

It’s important to put in place a strategy that you can follow consistently, taking into account the aims of your business and what you want to achieve.

If you’re looking to connect with more parents, sharing content and posts relevant to them, such as articles or videos about parents of children on the autism spectrum, will generate more engagement and social shares.

Be Specific

It’s also important to tailor your posts and content to the platform you’re using.

Each social media platform has its own quirks and particularities, as we described above.

You should cultivate an approach that suits the medium for the best outcomes.

What you post on Instagram, for example, will need to be different to what you post on Facebook.

That’s because of the different constraints as the platform, as well as differing audience expectations.

Follow Trends and Leverage Video

It’s wise to engage with tending articles, topics and viral videos that have relevance to your message and the ideas you’re trying to convey to your audience.

Creating your own original content is important too, and there are many ways to do so.

When people are scrolling through post after post, video content that makes them stop and take notice, but it still takes a balanced approach to be successful.

Recognize Relevant Awareness Days

There’s an awareness day for just about everything nowadays, and they can offer fantastic opportunities for businesses like yours.

When a relevant holiday or awareness day rolls around, be sure to make the most of it.

Put your business at the forefront of the conversation that’s taking place that day and have pre-prepared content that people can engage with.

People will be much more receptive to your ideas and your messages when there’s a reason for them to do so, such as a day that they feel is important.

What Else You Should Know About Marketing Your Business on Social Media

Now you know which platforms to use and what type of content to post.

We have a few more tips that can help you be more efficient with your social content and engagement strategy.

Consistency

As we’ve briefly mentioned above, consistency is important when it comes to posting content on social media and marketing your business that way.

You want to make sure that people are aware of you and that they don’t forget your business.

If your posting is inconsistent or goes through long barren spells, people will stop taking interest.

That’s why it makes sense to create a consistent posting schedule, which you can easily do so with a content calendar in an Excel sheet.

Collaboration

It can also be a good idea to collaborate with influencers who operate in the same space as you.

Your business doesn’t need to be an island when it comes to marketing its services on social media.

You can often achieve much more and much further reach when teaming up with other people.

Automation and Scheduling

From a logistical point of view, you might also want to think about how your approach to social media marketing might be made easier.

There are lots of social media automation tools that will help you with that, so be sure to check them out.

There are hundreds of scheduling tools that’ll make your life much easier, and they’ll ensure that the consistency we discussed above doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Are you looking to grow the social media presence of your ABA therapy business? Let us know below!


ABA Therapy Claims Billing

ABA Therapy Billing Services From Rethink

ABA therapy billing services are now available to all Rethink Behavioral Health customers!

Prior to our billing services, Rethink customers only had the option of self-billing solutions. We have listened to our customers to fill a gap when it comes to billing for your ABA therapy services. 

Big or small, our ABA therapy billing services are built to scale

We believe that ABA practitioners should focus on providing care, not spending time reviewing payor contracts or following up on payments. While our ABA data collection tools, RBT training modules, scheduling and billing software improve your operations, billing departments may lag behind. A common reason billing becomes a burden due to external forces is when payor requirements are updated, and you get notified when you receive denials.  

You may have lots of questions, so we’ve listed some of the common concerns and thoughts our clients have below. Review them for help determining whether or not our services are right for your clinic.

Do you currently have an internal biller? 

If you answered yes, the next question you should ask yourself is “Does your current biller have the capacity to handle more work?” If you answered no to either one of these questions, then our solutions are a great fit for your organization.

Do you struggle in keeping up with payor requirements?

If you answered yes, then our billing solutions are definitely a great fit for you. Furthermore, if you are looking to diversify your payor mix in order to increase your clientele base, our team will help onboard your company with the new payors. Please keep in mind, we cannot negotiate contracts on your behalf as we are an extension of your team not a representative of your organization.

Are you looking to improve your cash flow?

While this is a silly question as most people will say, “Yes!”, one of the biggest benefits our customers see when they use our billing services is that we may help improve cash flow.  

Here's how...

We bill on a weekly basis and post payments once a week. In addition, our team reviews all denials and rejections. During our review, we analyze the reason behind the denials and we will address them with you to create improvements to reduce them. 

Is your billing department holding you back from scaling your business?

Customers that use our practice management solutions are able to scale their business without the worry of technology failing them. The benefit of technology is that it can scale as fast as you can hire and train new talent. Billing departments are vulnerable to scaling issues as it takes time to find the right resource. When you leverage our billing services, you can virtually scale your business as fast as you'd like without the worry of being backlogged with billing responsibilities (how awesome!? 🙌).

Do you want to ask somebody questions about billing or how to improve your process?

As an ABA therapy business owner, trying to keep up with client demands, insurance requirements, staffing efforts and other administrative burdens are not easy. Let alone, trying to create strategies around billing improvements. When you use Rethink’s billing services, you will have your own billing specialist will provide you transparent billing reports. Your billing specialist is your dedicated resource, they are there to help you grow and answer any questions you may have. 

For example, if our billing specialist notices is an increase in denials, they will start at the review of the data that is being collected by your team. If they notice inconsistencies in the data that are being collected they will notify you and provide you with guidance on how to improve. 

How much does this cost?

Our cost structure is aligned to the size of your organization and the volume of insurance claims. We would be happy to schedule a call to discuss options with you! To schedule a call with us click this link.


teacher sitting with boy looking at a globe

10 Things You Should Know Before Starting an ABA Practice

This article is based on our recent webinar, Entrepreneurship in ABA: Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an ABA Practice, presented by Molly OlaMolly Ola Pinney, Founder/CEO of Global Autism Project Pinney, Founder/CEO of Global Autism Project.

If you are interested in learning more about how to break into, succeed, or grow as an ABA provider, you can sign up for our monthly webinar series, Entrepreneurship in ABA.

Starting a new Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) practice can be an exciting endeavor.

However, it can be also challenging if you don’t know where to start or how to compete against other practices that are already up and running.

Most practitioners undoubtedly start out with the idea to help others, but the reality is that many business owners fail for reasons including their inability to develop business know-how, a strong financial model, and an adequate sustainability plan.

To succeed in this emerging industry, you must learn it to understand the business side of your practice just as well as the clinical side.

The different facets can be overwhelming if you’re not already familiar, which is why we thought this would be a helpful topic to discuss.

In our recent webinar Entrepreneurship in ABA: Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an ABA Practice, Ola Pinney shares lessons from her own experiences and offers insight into the top things every ABA provider should consider to protect the sustainability and scalability of their business.

“Our organization has spent over a decade training businesses providing services across the globe, and I can’t wait to finally share what we’ve learned with you!” – Molly Ola Pinney

Here are a few tips to take away:

1.) Have Focus In Your Business

You should have a really compelling reason for switching gears in your practice.

A decision-making matrix can help you look at the different things you should focus on like time, costs and staff buy-in.

You should also be mindful of your messaging, marketing efforts and strategic efforts to support your bottom line.

2.) Learn More About The Numbers In Your Business

Even if you have an accountant, it is important that you understand cash flow and can plan for the future.

Some business owners tend to make a budget at the beginning of the year and then randomly check it throughout the year.

A regular budget analysis and plan for cash flow will help you note how money is coming in and going out so that you scale and spend appropriately.

Investments should also have a return.

3.) Develop A Crystal Clear Mission

The way that your business is going to attract people is by helping others understand and support your mission.

Ask yourself if you know where you’re headed and how you’ll get there.

According to Ola Pinney, “The how doesn’t matter nearly as much as the when, where and why.” When you’ve figured out your mission, you’ll want to figure out your why.

If you don’t yet have a mission, sit down with your team and write one down.

Then figure out your verticals and your people.

4.) Make Good Staffing Choices

Having a strong vision or mission will attract people who are there because they want to be.

You need specific expectations, guidelines and go-to policies.

You should leave no stone unturned when hiring, which may include creating an employee handbook (if you don’t already have one) and running guidelines and policies by your lawyer.

Think about the culture of your organization and what’s important to you and the people who work with you.

Weekly reports and regular meetings are amazing tools you can use once you have the right team.

You should also have a clear disciplinary process in place and never forget to hire slow and fire fast.

5.) Make Sure You Have A Strong Digital Presence

Does your company show up on multiple platforms?

Are you using social media platforms and ads appropriately?

Remember that your image should match your voice, your people should see themselves in your practice’s page and your visual identity should be clear, simple and inspiring.

Remember that you are connected to your company, so your personal image matters too.

6.) Determine Whether Your Company Is Scalable

In order to make your business scalable, you need strong processes.

Documenting processes allow you to plug in to them later and keep everything in one place so everyone knows where to go.

You should also think about your team and who you need on your team to move forward.

7.) Time Management Is Key

Even if you don’t think you have enough hours in the day, you do.

There are also enough hours in the day to take care of your body, mind and spirit.

“A good way to manage your time is to block and tackle,” says Ola Pinney.

Think about repetitive tasks and ways to leverage your time.

You should also delegate more tasks to others who can perform them.

8.) Change Your Mindset

In order to get a handle on the things you’d like to do, you need to change your time.

Try on the idea that you are the strong leader of your business and then figure out if you’re the roadblock to your own success.

9.) Be Consistent With Your Marketing

“One of the best ways to get the word out about what you do, is by talking about what you do,” says Ola Pinney.

Effective marketing requires a commitment to growth and a voice that people trust and want to hear more from.

Listening to and implementing best practices also help to make your marketing efforts more sustainable.

10.) Go To The Source

There is a lot that you can learn from others, including competitors/colleagues within the ABA field.

Make it a point to network and have a casual conversation.

These are just a few tips of the many things you should keep in mind as an ABA provider.

Another tip would be to have a practice management platform in place to streamline your processes and promote scalability while still ensuring client success.

Our one-stop-shop platform offers Billing services, Clinical tools, and Practice Management tools along with RBT Training, VB-MAPP licenses, and more than 1500 resources/materials as curriculum pieces.

Schedule a demo today at your convenience!


a diverse group meeting in a conference room

10 Tips for Motivating and Retaining Staff

This piece is based on our recent webinar presented by Erin Mayberry, MS, BCBA, LBA and current Professional Services Consultant for Rethink Behavioral Health.

You can sign up for the monthly webinar series, Entrepreneurship in ABA, mailing list here.

Have you ever felt burnout at some point in your employment?

In one way or another, each one of us has experienced a certain type of stress that was induced at work or because of work.

In Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), staff burnout is an essential item that needs to be monitored as it can lead to high turnover and disrupt consumer care.

On average, a behavioral therapist costs an estimated $5,000 upon leaving the company, not including the money spent on recruiting, onboarding, training, etc.

Let’s find out more about the most common work stressors:

According to Schulz, Greenley & Brown (first published in 1995)1, the most common stressors are the following:

  • Organizational Context (size of the company, task ownership, staff compensation, leadership style)
  • Work Satisfaction (nature of work, workload, work routine)
  • Client Severity (mental illness, psychiatric tendencies, developmental disabilities)
  • Work Environment (lack of job clarity, difference in company/organizational goals)
  • Staff Characteristics (Role tenure, age, staff education)
  • Organization/Management Process (Organization culture, influences on leadership, lack of social support)

In addition, common work stressors according to Waters (1999)2 are as follows:

  • Relationships with Coworkers and Supervisors (unsupportive to collaborations)
  • Effort vs Reward (felt undervalued, overloaded with work)
  • Lack of Influence on Decision Making and Outcomes (one’s opinion is not valued or is overlooked)

A literature review of burnout research was conducted by Bakker & Costa3 in 2014 which focuses on loss cycles and loss-gain cycles of chronic burnout.

In the research, the loss cycle consists of the following:

  • Job demands are associated with physiological and psychological costs. This includes fatigue/loss of sleep and increased heart rate which may then lead to physical and mental exhaustion
  • Daily exhaustion has the tendency to impact one’s work performance, which may then lead to employee ineffectiveness

In the case of the loss-gain cycle, the following are considered:

  • Encouragement of personal growth by providing better work opportunities
  • Availability of job resources and versatility

So how should we mitigate employees experiencing staff burnout?

Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent staff from experiencing burnout in the workplace:

Set Clear Expectations

As leaders, being transparent is a key trait in gaining trust from your staff. The same is true with setting expectations for them.

You have to ensure that expectations are clear and defined in measurable/observable terms.

If there are expectations that cannot be met for some reason, there should be a contingency plan in place.

Provide Effective Training

Onboarding new staff is time-consuming and often expensive.

With that being said, it is most ideal to train them properly rather than being thrown into a new role with no formal training at all.

A structured training method such as behavioral skills training or a peer training program can truly help in achieving positive, lasting results.

Not just onboarding, professional development can increase employee morale, performance, and treatment.

Provide Frequent Feedback

Let’s face it – an employee will not know what he/she is doing is right if no one tells him/her about it.

Make sure to provide feedback to your staff regarding their performance.

Balance corrective feedback with positive feedback, and try to only provide positive feedback occasionally.

Utilize Peers

The best way to encourage staff, specifically if they are performing well, is by telling them that they are doing well, which doesn’t always have to come from leadership.

Colleagues/peers can also help you provide feedback to their coworkers.

This can be achieved through shout outs, peer training and observation, and feedback in the moment.

Establish Individualized Goals

Personalized goals are effective because staff have more buy-in and accountability when they are able to help create the goals they will be working toward.

Every staff brings a unique set of skills and characteristics to the job, so it is important to recognize that each staff person may need support in different aspects of their job performance.

Use Preference Assessments

Not everyone likes the same thing, thus diversity should always be one of the top priorities as a leader.

Staff bonuses may not be too enticing for some people, as they prefer more time off rather than more money.

In this case, it is always a must to practice avoiding assumptions, but rather be open to opinions of the whole staff.

Provide Incentives for Performance

Once you know your staff’s preferences, you may use them to provide performance incentives when they achieve the goal that has been set for them.

This may include money, additional paid time off, or anything else the employee may value.

Establish a Supportive Organizational Structure

If there is a supportive organizational structure, staff are more likely to work together.

A supportive organizational structure encourages open communication, respect across all levels of employment, and establishes clear goals and visions.

Encourage Self-Monitoring

By letting your staff measure their own performance, you have the opportunity to encourage staff to create goals for themselves and personally evaluate their progress toward that goal.

This is a great way for staff to have immediate feedback when leadership isn’t always available to provide feedback in the moment.

Model the Behavior You Want to Increase

The mentality “Do as I say, not as I do” is ineffective. The more effective way to lead is by example. Model behaviors you want staff to imitate.

You can also encourage staff to be models for their peers. Some staff learn best by observing a competent colleague demonstrate a skill first.

By including some or all of these strategies in the workplace, you can reduce the stress and burnout staff may feel on the job.

Not only will staff be more supported, their overall job performance may improve as well which can lead to increased client happiness.

Two simple, low-cost methods to get you started (or keep you on the right track) is providing professional development such as Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) training and equipping your team with the necessary, mobile-friendly tools to make their on-the-go job easier.


Rethink Behavioral Health provides an intuitive and comprehensive solution to scale your ABA business and ensure client success.

Our one-stop-shop platform offers both Clinical and Practice Management tools along with RBT Training, VB-MAPP licenses, and more than 1500 resources/materials as curriculum pieces.

Schedule a demo today at your convenience!

References:

  1. Schulz, R., Greenley, J.R., & Brown, R. (1995). Organization, management, and client effects on staff burnout. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 34, 333-345
  2. Waters, J.E. (1999). The impact of work resources on job stress among correctional treatment staff. Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling, 20, 26-34
  3. Bakker, A.B. & Costa, P.L. (2014). Chronic job burnout and daily functioning: a theoretical analysis. Burnout Research (1), 112-119.

Businesspeople looking at paper charts and a macbook

New Category 1 CPT Codes for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Services

rethink-vbmapp-promo Category 1 CPT Codes

Anthony Porcelli, Manager of Billing Services for Rethink Behavioral Health, had the pleasure of attending Dr. Wayne Fisher’s workshop on the new Category 1 CPT Codes for ABA Services, which will be effective January 1, 2019.

I split the workshop into 3 sections:

  1. Interpreting the new Category 1 CPT Codes
  2. Suggestions to help valuate the codes when negotiating rates with payers
  3. The work was undertaken to get the new Category 1 CPT Codes accepted by the American Medical Association (AMA)

The two great advantages I see with the new codes are that they are broken up into 15-minute units to allow for more efficient billing and the ongoing codes are no longer needed.

A quick crosswalk for the more commonly used codes is listed below and more detailed descriptions can be found here.

Old Category 3 CodeNew Category 1 Code
0359T97151
0360T – 0361T97152
0364T – 0365T97153
0368T – 0369T97155
0370T97156
0371T97157

A key talking point of the workshop involved valuating the codes when negotiating rates with payers.

When negotiating rates it is important to demonstrate to payers the amount of work that goes into each service.

For instance, when negotiating rates for a technician appointment (0364T – 0365T) providers should mention the training that is involved between the BCBA and the tech before the appointment, the work that goes on during the actual appointment, and the interpretation of data and session notes created afterward.

To do this, Dr. Fisher suggested that providers consider each CPT Code in 3 parts:

  • Pre-Service
  • Intra-Service
  • Post-Service

Pre-Service includes everything that goes on before the appointment takes place such as training staff and writing protocols.

Intra-Service consists of the work that goes on during the actual appointment itself while Post-Service is the work that happens after a session is completed such as writing progress notes and reviewing data.

By doing this, the provider can adequately describe the full scope of work that goes into each appointment.

A further example is provided below for what goes into a Support/Technician Appointment:

0364T – 0365T

Pre-Service Work

  1. BCBA: Trains a technician to perform the service.
  2. RBT: Attends trainings with BCBA. Reviews patient medical records. Creates materials for sessions.

Intra-Service Work

  1. RBT: Works with client based on protocols created by BCBA.

Post-Service

  1. RBT: Writes session notes. Communicates with BCBA as needed about sessions.
  2. BCBA: Reviews/Approves session notes. Interprets data. Updates treatment plan.

Next Steps

The last piece of the workshop involved discussion on the next steps that Dr. Fisher and his group would be working on involving the new Category 1 CPT Codes.

The first order of business for the group is releasing a “Tool Kit” for providers to help valuate their services when getting ready to negotiate with payers.

Dr. Fisher and his team will also work with the AMA to address the issue of billing for both the RBT and BCBA during overlapping service times.

He believes providers should be able to bill for both services concurrently because the responsibilities of each professional during the mutual session are different.

In Summary

In summation, I believe the new codes will positively affect the ABA world and simplify the billing process.

Since the ongoing codes have been eliminated, there will be less line errors during billing, leading to faster payments and less back-and-forth interaction with the insurance companies so that providers can spend more time with their clients.

Also, since the new codes have been assigned category 1 status, I hope that payers will be more uniform with their interpretations of their use which will also make for improved efficiency in billing.

rethink-promo- Category 1 CPT Codes

From scheduling the appointment to providing resources for treatment and tracking progress to getting paid - Rethink Behavioral Health will completely support you.

No more juggling systems.

Full Features

Our complete platform features:

  • Billing & Full Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) features electronic claims submission & remittances, eligibility verification, patient statements and payments portal, financial reporting, and more!
  • Staff Training & Resources on-demand, self-paced RBT Training and access to thousands of printable resources.
  • Clinical Programming & Data Collection spend less time on administrative tasks with robust tools for assessment, treatment planning, data collection and progress reporting.
  • Advanced Scheduling Tool Easy appointment set up, view multiple staff & client schedules at once, seamless controls prevent coding and scheduling errors, capture session notes and parent signatures.

Schedule a demo today at your convenience!


patient chart folders with numbers

Documentation Requirements: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of a Medical Record

This piece is based on our recent webinar presented by Sarah Schmitz, the Owner and President of Comprehensive Billing Consultants.

Sarah has over 13 years of experience in medical coding and billing and is an expert in getting you credentialed, contracted, and paid for your services quickly and properly.

You can sign up for the monthly webinar series, Entrepreneurship in ABAmailing list here.

Understanding the many facets of medical documentation can be a challenge to both patients and providers in the health care world.

On one hand, medical records are critical to the treatment of patients and on the other, they are essential to the overall organization of medical records divisions within practices across the country.

The divide between what’s expected and what’s delivered can even affect payment procedures.

So, realizing that the most valuable documentation to payers are the types that satisfy their requirements is key.

According to Sarah Schmitz, the Owner and President of Comprehensive Billing Consultants, knowing what’s expected and who provides those expectations on daily session notes and medical records should be the goal for every provider.

However, in order to master this key concept, you should first understand the basics of daily session notes.

session-notes
Say goodbye to filing cabinets and take session notes on the go with Rethink.

Why do we have daily session notes?

Daily session notes exist to document all services you provide.

They give you the opportunity to go back and look at what was done and helps plan for with forward-looking care.

Consistent documentation also provides evidence regarding the assessment, treatment, and progress of services for a client.

“This is important because you will need to see where a patient started and where they’re ending up,” says Schmitz.

Documentation expands how we communicate with other service providers and ensures practitioners and all those who receive documentation are aware of any provider, client or family involvement in the daily session.

It can also serve as required evidence for insurance companies to ensure you are properly reimbursed for the services that rendered.

Here are a few benefits of daily session notes:

• It’s your legal protection for clients, the practice and practitioners
• It can be used for data and research
• It enables a facility to train and provide quality assessments and review of staff practices
• It helps you produce correct coding procedures
• It allows for optimal care of the client

Overall, it is required that session notes be permanent, legible, accurate, timely, clear, concise, complete, encompassing and truthful.

Medical records are also legally-binding and often need to be accessed or retrieved both inside and outside of a practice.

Medical necessity also almost always refers back to symptoms.

Therefore, documenting accurate diagnoses are equally important to billing policies and procedures for your practice.

Who will see these records?

Staff within and professionals outside your practice might see client medical records.

This can include administrative support staff, risk management professionals, coders and billers, insurance companies and others.

Family members could require access to session notes to facilitate the transfer of treatment documentation from one service provider to the next.

While all session notes are not required to be sent to all coordinating providers, documentation of treatment plans must be forwarded to the referring physician at each review.

When do notes need to be completed?

The best practice for daily session notes should be completed no later than seven days from the date of service.

Discharge summaries should be completed and forwarded to the referring physician within 30 days of discharge.

You should refer to state and federal requirements for any medical record storage and policies associated with your service area.

Where and how do the records need to be stored?

In order for medical records to be HIPAA compliant, a copy of all records must be backed up and stored outside the family’s home.

This includes in-home services. Medical records must also be locked away in a safe storage environment, such as a locked closet or room in an office.

If your practice chooses to use digital or electronic records, they must be double password protected and backed up regularly to a server or the cloud.

In the event that corrections need to be made to medical documentation, be aware that you cannot delete or edit items or words.

You can, however, make edits with a single line drawn through notes. All changes must be initialed and dated.

The original author should only make corrections, with supervisors serving as an exception to this rule.

Ultimately Schmitz says that the golden rule for medical records is “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.”

So remember to be smart about meeting requirements and creating documentation that works for your patients, staff, and payers.

Rethink's Practice Management

Rethink’s practice management makes session documentation compliance a breeze.

The customizable templates ensure that each note contains all the required information, and does the dirty work for you by pre-filling information such as the client’s name, staff name, session date/time/duration, and even inserts a summary of the clinical data collected.

Our customizable workflows enable you to ensure that the staff member completes the note before the session gets marked as completed and billed.

Finally, a PDF copy of every session note is automatically backed up to each client’s record, giving you peace of mind during an insurance audit.

Schedule a demo today at your convenience!

This summer, $10 goes a long way at Rethink!Rethink summer deal
For just $10 per staff member, you will receive RBT Training, Parent Training, and unlimited access to our Printable Resource Library!

You’ll also receive a $1,200 credit to cover the implementation fee if you decide to explore our clinical and/or scheduling tools. Take advantage now!

Hurry, this deal ends August 1st, 2018.


new york city traffic

ABA & the Mobile Workforce: Managing the Risk of Employee Drivers

This article is based upon a recent webinar presented by Daniel Law, of The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers.

Over the past 14 years, Dan has focused on the design and implementation of insurance and risk management programs for clients globally.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) providers face unique challenges with the clients they serve and the practice they run.

They often relate these issues to operations, clinical data collection and practice management.

However, while ABA providers understand a variety of techniques that affect their clients, sometimes the hurdles that come with managing a business and its employees are difficult to navigate and they need to rely on experts.

One of these challenges is risk management.

Far too often it is only understood as a reactive measure when ABA providers and their employees face issues that affect a business financially or in practice.

However, there are strong benefits to including the right risk management approach in proactive initiatives, like establishing policies for employees who drive.

According to risk expert Daniel Law, of The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers, ABA providers across the country rarely think about the risks associated with employees who drive duringdriving company hours.

Most times, ABA providers have a very young workforce and employees may commute to and from work sites via car or public transportation.

For those who drive and work in a wide variety of environments, there are different levels of exposure.

This can include everything from weather to traffic and by helping clients get from one destination to another.

“The general rule,” says Law, “is if you provide a mileage reimbursement, you have an employee driving on company and your business is at risk if the employee is involved in an accident.”

But every case is unique.

In fact, employees who have a specific location or worksite that they travel to and from consistently may use a car for the commute, which wouldn’t be classified as company time.

To understand the risks, experts like Law say ABA providers should critically analyze guidelines for when an employee is considered to be driving on company time.

When are Employees Driving on Company Time?

  • Driving in between sessions or client homes during work hours
  • Going from a school-based session to a client’s home in the evening

These are just two examples of when an employee may drive on company time and each practice will determine their own policies that correspond with how their business operates.

To implement the risk management approach for employees who drive, each company should first know the fundamentals of the three-step process.

What is the Risk Management Approach?

The risk management approach is a three-step process that centers on identifying, analyzing and responding to risks.

Each environment poses different hazards, so ABA providers must first identify, in their specific operations, where they have risks and analyze how they might impact the business and then formulate a response.

Identifying Areas of Risks

Some risks can be mitigated with appropriate policies, while others cannot.

The risk management approach suggests that those areas of risks that can be avoided should be avoided, like when employees allow clients or children to enter their car.

Exposure in a situation such as this can be tough to manage.

So, if ABA providers don’t know the maintenance of a car or are not providing a company car, Daniel recommends businesses prohibit employees to drive clients in their own vehicles.

Analyzing Risks

Like all other businesses, providers should always analyze risks prior to events.

This is a great way to mitigate risk for a business and establish a precedent that is flexible to implement when employees enter or leave the company.

For example, ABA providers can look at Human Resource policies to determine if they already have a structure in place to require employees to have higher personal auto insurance limits.

If it is a requirement for employees to drive on company time, ABA providers can also require employees to provide regular information on the condition of their vehicles and allow for random or scheduled inspections.

Responding to Risks or Accidents

Some accidents or events are unforeseen and can’t be avoided or overlooked once they occur.

So if an employee drives on company time and is involved in an accident, one of the first things that will be looked at is who is at fault.

The term “at fault” is used to define a point in time when injury or damage occurs to someone or something else, better known as third-party exposure.

It is rarely cut and dry.

A simple allegation of fault can force a business to step in and defend the company, even though the allegations may not have a basis in reality.

The key to handling these situations is staying calm and controlling the situation by formulating an appropriate response at the right time.

Understanding Risk Management

Injury to occupants and employees are often an integral part of the response process.

So understanding the limitations of auto insurance policies and following the rules and procedures associated with the Workers’ Compensation process is essential.

Obtaining a great business auto insurance plan can be a big help.

Each month, Rethink Behavioral Health hosts a webinar with ABA-specific business experts that offer support and guidance for providers.

So be sure to check out the next webinar and arm your practice with the right information to succeed!

Rethink Behavioral Health provides an intuitive and comprehensive solution to scale your ABA business and ensure client success.

Our one-stop-shop platform offers both Clinical and Practice Management tools along with RBT Training, VB-MAPP licenses, and more than 1500 resources/materials as curriculum pieces.

Schedule a demo today at your convenience!


two white male business executives having a meeting

Thinking “Big Picture”: Promoting Quality in ABA Services

This piece was authored by Kathleen Bailey Stengel, Sr. Vice President ABA at Aveanna Healthcare.Think-Big

The “gold standard” for effective treatment for individuals with autism has always been Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

However, as ABA services are increasingly sought after and provided to large groups of individuals, new clinicians are being trained and certified at a rapid pace.

Because of this, a true “standard” for these ABA programs is difficult to define in the marketplace.

Where the Difficulty Lies

A quick scroll through social media sites can highlight complaints from both consumers and clinicians regarding poor programming, lack of evidence-based treatment plans, and ineffective data collection.

Part of this difficulty lies in the individualization of programs as ABA programs are typically designed for each individual, which results in certified and credentialed providers not developing standards of care across the board rather than the individual client.

While many individual practitioners are experiencing success at their practice, providers and funders often run into issues when scaling practices toward large populations and across many practitioners to obtain (effective) outcomes expected by stakeholders and clinicians.

Ongoing supervision and training of staff, standard documentation practices, and consistency of clinical interventions and outcomes are enormous challenges faced by clinical organizations as they grow and move into community-based integrated service models.

Though challenging, there are methods to smooth this transition.

Setting up for Success

As a behavioral health provider across many states, we maintain large waiting lists for clients and are constantly hiring new clinicians at a rapid pace to keep up.

One of the most difficult tasks we’ve experienced is maintaining appropriate clinical and operational checks and balances while providing services to families who direly need them.

This need for effective monitoring and supervision of clinical programs is essential in assuring the ABA programs we provide remain the “gold standard”.

Therefore, it is a priority to hold all our clinical programs to the high standards that ABA has demonstrated and knows so well.

At Aveanna, creating and maintaining organizational quality indicators has been a priority over the last 3 years.

As part of this initiative (and given the larger size of our programs), it has been imperative to have a partner electronic platform that allows us to continue providing excellent ABA case management services while reducing time costs related to supervision and training, information storage and data collection, and management at the individual and aggregate levels.

Rethink Behavioral Health, a division of Rethink First, has been this partner for Aveanna.

The Rethink platform has provided us with tools to standardize our clinical documentation and data management while allowing an efficient way to access and review all the clients’ records.

With these features in place, we have been able to identify and monitor clinical quality indicators that will give us the opportunity to standardize and shape the clinical skills of our staff to reach the services and outcomes that we expect for all the individuals we serve.

As an example and a baseline point, we identified the following essential quality indicators that will be at the core of each and all programs offered.

These quality indicators are the backbone of our standard performance expectations and will continue to pave the road for further development of all our clinical staff and the achievement of consistently valuable treatment outcomes.

Key Quality Indicators:

  1. Individual goals clearly match the assessments
  2. Goals are measurable
  3. Data collection systems selected match the stated goals
  4. Lesson plans for each goal are completed
  5. Positive Behavior Support plan is written and in place
  6. Graphs for each and all goals are up to date and complete
  7. Graphs reflect changes in interventions as needed
  8. Intervention protocols are evidence-based
  9. Follows up with supervision round recommendations

Thanks to Rethink Behavioral Health, we can audit the program integrity remotely to assure compliance with basic clinical standards.

Our goal with standardizing and reverse engineering clinical outcomes at the clinician level is twofold: to create a basic standard of care while allowing the clinician to individualize treatment and to work toward creating a baseline for measuring large population aggregate results in the future.

When we can finalize and control the variables for treatment implementation across our national program, we will then move toward aggregating the data from Rethink on the children’s plans and measure full programmatic integrity.

This data will then drive decisions from the child level all the way up through executive decisions.

With Rethink as a partner in data collection and treatment integrity, the collected data will allow us in the future to change our clinical and organizational structure that have direct and meaningful impacts on client outcomes across locations.

Rethink Behavioral Health provides an intuitive and comprehensive solution to scale your ABA business and ensure client success.

Our one-stop-shop platform offers both Clinical and Practice Management tools along with RBT Training, VB-MAPP licenses, and over 1500 resources/materials as curriculum pieces.

Schedule a demo today at your convenience!


A female healthcare officer worker on the phone at her computer

Terminating Employees: Best Practices and Red Flags To Consider

Did you know it’s best practice to prepare for your next termination during the hiring process?

Take a look at our latest installment published on Behavioral Science in the 21st Century discussing best practices & red flags to consider when terminating employees!filice

Terminating an employee is an interesting time for the entire office and can affect productivity and culture.

Read the full article to discover how to avoid termination problems at the point of hire and understand stipulations such as “employment at will”!

Rethink Behavioral Health and bSci21 publish a new article every month, stay tuned for the next installment!


male typing on a calculator and looking at finance sheets

[Webinar] Affordable Care Act: How It Affects Your Business

Rethink Behavioral Health invites you to participate in our upcoming webinar, Affordable Care Act: How It Affects Your Business!

Signed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is entering the final stages of implementation. What opportunities or risks does the ACA represent to you? Join us to find out!

Our guest presenter, Liliana Salazar, Compliance Officer/HUB International, Insurance Services, who has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry and insider information from Washington D.C..

This live webinar will be held on Thursday, October 19th at 1pm EDT/10am PDT. Click here to register.

P.S. Interested in a FREE VBMAPP license? Take advantage of our limited-time promotion for new and existing clients!

Rethink Behavioral Health holds a monthly webinar series entitled Entrepreneurship in ABA.

This targeted set of presentations will focus on the business aspects of running an ABA provider group.

Whether you are just getting started, or in high growth mode, this series will offer insights and best practices for helping your business succeed.