UPDATE: Coalition Advocates for Telehealth Delivery of ABA Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

April 2, 2020

Many providers of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services are facing extreme challenges in delivering those services in person in light of the health and safety risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Like other healthcare providers, our community is scrambling to determine how to use telehealth in order to minimize disruptions to medically necessary services. To assist, the ABA Coding Coalition — which comprises authors of the current CPT codes for adaptive behavior (ABA) services — is urging payers to authorize telehealth delivery of ALL services represented by those codes (CPT 97151-97158, 0362T, 0373T) during the COVID-19 emergency, as appropriate and feasible for each client and provider. Additionally, Coalition members have been working feverishly to develop resources to help ABA providers navigate these uncharted waters with payers and clients. These include the following:

  • A recording of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts’ March 25/28 webinar titled “Telepractice of ABA During the Pandemic: Working with Health Plans” is available at this link (no cost to APBA members; $18 for non-members). Topics covered by the expert presenters include public policies and professional standards around the practice of ABA during the COVID-19 pandemic; advocating for clients; using the CPT codes for ABA services to report services delivered via telepractice; and health insurance billing and claims documentation for services delivered via telepractice.
  • The Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP) has issued Telehealth Guidelines and Practice Parameters for Telehealth Implementation of Applied Behavior Analysis: Continuity of Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic which are being widely circulated by payers. Slides from the March 31 CASP webinar on the release of the practice parameters can be found here; the full recording will be available following a repeat live presentation on April 3.

APBA and CASP are planning additional online presentations and discussions on appropriate telehealth service delivery and related topics, and APBA is developing guidelines to help ABA providers make decisions during the crisis. The Coalition will post updated information as it becomes available. If you have questions about any of the topics mentioned here, please contact us.