BCBAs, clinical directors, and other supervisory staff in the ABA field commonly wear multiple hats, juggling a never-ending to-do list. Heavy workloads combined with a lack of support and resources is a recipe for burnout. Burnout in the ABA field is increasingly prevalent. One study found that 72% of ABA clinicians reported medium to high levels of burnout.
Burnout among RBTS and BCBAs can have devastating consequences. In a field with already high turnover rates, burnout can result in increased turnover, costing the organization in numerous ways. Turnover can have significant consequences including financial costs, discontinuation of care, and lowered morale among existing staff. Identifying and resolving clinical challenges faced in your organization can improve staff and client satisfaction, thus resulting in benefits for all.
Slow progression of targets and mastery of skills
Every child progresses at their own pace. Some children have a fast acquisition rate, rapidly acquiring new skills each week. Others have a much slower rate, requiring a great deal of repetition to learn a new skill.
When a learner is not progressing through targets and mastering skills at their typical acquisition rate, this can be cause for concern. Behavior technicians may wonder if they’re doing something wrong, behavior analysts may question whether they’re implementing the right goals with enough support, and caregivers may feel that their child’s time in therapy is not being well spent.
Poor communication between supervisor and staff
Ineffective communication is a challenge that many industries face. In the healthcare field, poor communication can have particularly damaging effects, most notably for the individuals receiving services. However, poor communication can also impact staff’s professional development.
Communication barriers may be the result of an employee’s underdeveloped interpersonal skills or they may be part of a larger organizational issue. Identifying where the barriers lie and developing strategies to improve communication at both the individual and organizational level is key.
Training new staff on specific programs/clients due to turnover is
Turnover presents many challenges for an entire organization. One particular struggle is the never-ending training cycle. It can be frustrating for supervisors and clinic directors when a staff member is fully trained with a client, only to quit weeks or months later. A significant amount of time and resources go into training staff members with each client on individualized programming.
Staff turnover also has a significant impact on client progress. The time spent staffing, then building rapport and training the new staff, can result in regression of skills. This can be of tremendous concern to parents and caregivers who have high expectations for their child’s progress.
Non-standard formats for Funding Sources
Each funding source has different requirements for documentation and reporting. There are no standard formats across funding sources. Providers need to thoroughly review the specific requirements of each funding source they work with and create templates that work for each funder, which can be time-consuming.
If an organization does not set up reporting for each unique funding source with individual requirements, it can ultimately impact revenue and treatment due to delays in authorizations and claims denials. Using software that offers individualized templates based on each funding source’s requirements can reduce this challenge.
Outcomes-based reimbursement is a payment model that has started moving into the healthcare industry. Most ABA therapy services are reimbursed based on a fee-for-service. However, some healthcare leaders and policymakers are encouraging the move toward values-based care and outcomes-based reimbursement, in an effort in improve care and prioritize the recipient of the services.
The potential shift toward outcomes-based reimbursement has some ABA organizations concerned. While providers would be financially rewarded for positive outcomes, this method of payment also comes with financial risk.
One of the biggest challenges ABA providers are facing in making a shift toward outcomes-based reimbursement is determining how to measure the quality of their outcomes. Clients receiving insurance-funded ABA services typically have an autism spectrum diagnosis (ASD). Children with ASD can present with many various symptoms and levels of severity. Each child also progresses at their own pace, making outcomes more challenging to measure.
ABA providers can start preparing for the potential for outcomes-based reimbursement by defining and standardizing quality and outcome measures. Additionally, understanding the data you have available and identifying what type of data is needed to demonstrate quality measures is another important area ABA organizations can focus on to prepare.
Wasted manual reporting time
Completing progress reports and treatment plans is a necessary component of BCBAs job duties. However, these tasks can take up significant amounts of time, particularly when an organization is using outdated or manual processes.
Funding sources typically only reimburse 6-10 hours every 6 months for reassessments. These hours include the face-to-face time spent conducting assessments, as well as the assessment analysis and report writing. However, using manual processes such as creating the treatment plan in a word doc and pasting excel graphs into the document, can take up significantly more time than the hours allotted for reimbursement. This results in increased non-billable work and adds to the BCBA’s already heavy workload.
Streamlining report writing can improve your BCBA’s job satisfaction, reduce hours worked that are not billable, and most importantly, increase the quality of care by allowing the BCBAs to dedicate more of their time and energy on caring for their clients and families.
Less time spent with clients due to administrative tasks
When BCBAs are heavily loaded with administrative, non-billable tasks, this takes away from the time they could be spending with their clients. Reduced BCBA oversight of cases can result in less positive outcomes for the client. Less time spent with clients also means less time spent with RBTs. One of the best ways to combat turnover is by supporting RBTs, which typically means face-to-face time with supervisors. When supervisors are spending an exorbitant amount of time on administrative tasks, they are missing vital opportunities to support their clients and their RBTs.
Reassigning administrative tasks and using technology to automate these tasks can greatly increase the time your BCBAs are able to spend with their clients. Increasing the amount of time BCBAs can spend with their clients has many benefits including increased support for RBTs which may improve their job satisfaction and performance, improved quality of care, and reduced burnout among BCBAs.
ABA data collection software that helps make evidence-based decisions and advance client care
With CentralReach’s ABA data collection software, empower your staff to effectively communicate client progress and provide timely, individualized services with program books and data collection. Flexible solutions enable clinicians to construct ABA programming, modify client targets and behaviors for their treatment plan, and collect data across any developmental domain. Start improving standards of care and service delivery, and effectively scale operations to meet the ever-growing demand for autism & IDD care services. Click here to learn more about how CentralReach’s ABA data collection software can benefit your organization.