Scheduling complexities are one of the commonly reported challenges faced by ABA organizations. Challenges with scheduling are heightened as an organization grows, often requiring multiple full-time employees to oversee the management of schedules.
While some organizations continue using manual systems for scheduling, the vast number of variables make manual scheduling time-consuming and complex. Scheduling inefficiencies can result in lost revenue, decreased productivity, reduced staff satisfaction resulting in higher turnover, and poor client outcomes.
Lack of visibility across locations and service types
In the ABA field, there are often numerous locations where services are held. Children may receive services in a clinic setting, school, in the community, in their homes, or virtually. Using disjointed scheduling systems such as basic spreadsheets or paper and pencil, vital information about the location of sessions and service type may be missed. Scheduling errors due to a lack of visibility in locations and service types can cause challenges affecting staff and clients. This also increases the administrative time spent on scheduling to remedy the errors, taking away time from other tasks.
Improving visibility across locations through an integrated scheduling platform can ensure everyone is on the same page and that clients receive the quality care they deserve.
Missing rescheduling opportunities
Staff and clients get sick or take vacations, emergencies arise, or other events occur that result in session cancellations. Cancellations are inevitable as life is unpredictable. However, cancellations can cause disruptions in a child’s continuity of care, impact an organization’s revenue, and decrease both client and staff satisfaction.
While missed sessions are often out of an agency’s control, rescheduling can greatly reduce the impact they have. However, oftentimes organizations struggle with rescheduling missed sessions. Sometimes rescheduling is not possible due to conflicting schedules. Other times, rescheduling opportunities are simply missed due to manual record keeping, lack of communication between departments, or overloaded staff who have too many administrative duties on their plate to focus their attention on rescheduling sessions.
Cancellation management and visibility
Multiple people need to be made aware when cancellations occur, whether the family or staff canceled the session. It can be incredibly frustrating to arrive at a session, only to realize that the staff is on vacation or that the client is sick. Communication is a vital component of any prosperous organization. However, sometimes changes in schedules slip through the cracks, especially if the organization is using manual scheduling.
Streamlining scheduling with fully-integrated software can ensure everyone has access to their client’s and supervisee’s most up-to-date schedules. When staff have full visibility to cancellations and schedule changes as soon as they arise, they can quickly rearrange their schedules to replace the hours missed.
In most industries, staff are hired for a set number of weekly hours that they can generally depend on. In the ABA field, this can be much more complex due to the inevitability of cancellations. Organizations are not paid by their funding sources for canceled sessions, meaning that most often, hourly staff miss out on the hours and money they were expecting. This can easily lead to job dissatisfaction and eventually turnover, as they depend on income to make a living.
With automated scheduling capabilities, organizations can easily identify underutilized staff and find opportunities for them to fill in with other clients. Increase revenue and staff satisfaction by ensuring that all employees are working the number of hours they were offered upon hire.
Matching staff’s skill sets with clients
Every staff member is just as unique as each client. Matching staff personalities, teaching styles, and skill sets with individual clients can be a challenge. Some clients may require a Spanish-speaking clinician. Others may require experienced staff who can handle high-intensity behaviors such as aggression and self-injurious behaviors. Each client also has unique interests and energy levels that should be matched up with their assigned clinician, when possible. For example, a child who prefers laid-back, calm activities, may find it aversive to have a technician with a high level of energy and enthusiasm.
Using manual or disintegrated systems for staffing can make it difficult to match the right staff with each client. Important information may be missed, resulting in assigning staff with a client when they’re not the best match. This can impact client progress by wasting time training the staff, only to later realize that a staff member with a different skill set would be more effective for that client.
Visibility for Staff not Completing Sessions
When staff does not submit their time and session note documentation, delays in claims submission and payroll can occur. This can affect many individuals within an organization, causing extra work to go back, identify missed submissions and remedy the errors as quickly as possible. Depending on how long it took for the error to be identified and the payor’s claim submission deadline, it’s possible that you may miss out on reimbursement for that session.
Having full visibility into session completion and timesheet submission reduces errors, ensuring staff is paid for the work they did and claims are submitted in a timely manner.
ABA agencies must always be audit-ready. Reactively responding to audits without proactive preparations can cost a significant amount of time, manpower, loss of productivity, and ultimately, loss of revenue.
Proactively auditing schedules, timesheets, and authorizations can lead to faster and cleaner billing and payroll. Additionally, in the event of a payor audit, you can feel confident in providing the documentation required without taking time and energy away from client care.
Streamline Scheduling with CentralReach
When thinking about how your scheduling system impacts cost, compliance, scalability and meeting your business goals, the right software doesn’t just improve scheduling and saving time. It removes bottlenecks and inefficiencies from key business areas that must be optimized to enable business success, growth, and superior client outcomes.
With CentralReach scheduling solutions, get visibility to properly manage client appointments and clinicians schedules, ensuring clients receive the care they need, when they need it, and empowering you to increase productivity. Ensure appointments are correctly scheduled for the right amount of time and services.