CentralReach is proud to hand over the blog today to SLP specialist, Rosemarie Griffin, who is sharing her take on how child care teams can work together to help our students lead successful, beautiful lives! Take it away, Rosemarie…

When working with students who have autism or other complex communication disorders, we know that a team approach is best. But sometimes putting this into practice can be easier in theory. It can be overwhelming at times to implement collaborative and systematic instruction, especially if you are working with professionals who may use a different approach.  When we all work together towards the common goal of helping our students gain functional skills and become more independent in all areas, it’s a win-win for all!

Being both a speech language pathologist and a board certified analyst, I have developed some strategies to use when working among a team of professionals. Below are some tips to follow to help make a collaborative approach easier to initiate and maintain:

  1. Take time to introduce yourself to members of the team. If you are a contracted individual, you may be new to everyone. Taking time to introduce yourself to the teacher, parent, principal, paraprofessional, etc.… is vital to setting the tone that collaboration is an important part of the therapeutic process.
  2. After introductions have taken place, set up a time to meet with team members to discuss current progress. You may be coming in at a time of crisis or during a time where things are not going so well. It is important to ask the team members to highlight things that are going well with programming and areas that need to be addressed. Being a good listener is an important piece to the collaborative process.
  3. If a plan is set in motion to help decrease problem behavior, make sure that you have read over the plan and provided training for the entire educational team. If the team is new to the field of applied behavior analysis, they may need time to process the information, to practice the plan and get feedback on how they are doing with implementation. Carrying out the plan as recommended based on your assessment and clinical judgment is vital for student success.
  4. Work collaboratively and develop shared goals when it is appropriate. Speech Language Pathologists have a wealth of knowledge regarding speech and language. Teachers have great experience with current curricular expectations. Paraprofessionals can give amazing insight on how the student responds to different teaching strategies. Use the teams experience with the student to help guide goal and objective formation.
  5. As mentioned above, shared goals are so very important for students with autism and other more complex disorders. Working with the team to create a daily data sheet that can be used over the course of the school day and by other members of the student’s educational team is vital to the student’s success. For example, if you have a student who is answering the personal information question when is your birthday, a shared data sheet would allow this skill to be addressed across the learners day. This would allow for multiple opportunities for practice and would help us plan for the generalization of this important skill.


Name: _____________ Date: ___________________


Student will answer, “when is your birthday? + –

+ –

+ –

+ –

+ –


  1. Share professional research from the field of applied behavior analysis with members of the team. Ask the team members for research information or resources from their fields. This shared learning can increase the competency of all professionals and help their shared clients make more functional gains. Knowledge is power!

I hope that you can use these guidelines to help your work with students with autism become more systematic and collaborative. Together we can make a difference!


Rosemarie Griffin CCC/SLP BCBA
Speech Language Pathologist
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Rosemarie Griffin is a speech language pathologist, board certified behavior analyst and creator of the action builder cards.
She serves students in a public school setting and a private school setting. Rosemarie uses the science of applied behavior analysis to help her students improve their
overall communication skills. Her goal is to help all students become more effective communicators and to help all professionals feel more comfortable with providing effective instruction for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you have questions about the content of this article, please feel free to contact her at abaspeech@yahoo.com. Find Rose on her website
www.abaspeech.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/abaspeech/.

If you’re looking for a collaborative and easy-to-use platform to help your Speech practice, visit us here for more on how our current SLPs use CentralReach.

michael-cameronBehavior Analysis is becoming an increasingly respected field worldwide. Its growing popularity has even prompted big changes in the American healthcare system. Nevertheless, this newfound recognition comes with great responsibility. Any BCBA working with insurance companies will likely experience some form of auditing.

“If you haven’t been picked, you will.”

The question isn’t “if”; the question is “when.”
Auditing and jury duty have a lot in common; if you haven’t been picked yet, you will. Chances are, it’ll be the furthest thing from your mind. Then one day out of the blue a letter, email, or phone call will surface and you need to be audit-ready.

Understanding Auditing
From insurance companies to municipalities, most payer types have strict policies limiting benefit coverage. Submitted claims deemed non-compliant can prompt denial or revocation of payments, even if sent months ago.

The impact of an audit can vary from a minor inconvenience to a major disruption.Larger companies with robust technology may be equipped to handle audits, but the stakes are much higher for smaller practices. Limited manpower plus subpar technology is an auditing recipe for disaster.

How to Prepare
Any company can encounter an audit, but certain “red flags” make it happen more frequently. While some risks are hard to eradicate completely, the biggest risks can be fixed and make you audit-ready.

  1. Risk: Lack of Standardization
    Insurance companies love consistency, especially when it comes to assessments and treatments. If your practice doesn’t adhere to standard protocols and templates, your clinical evaluations become prone to questioning.
    Solution: Standardized Templates
    CentralReach’s customizable forms with drop down menus make it easy to implement protocols and checklists for quality control. These templates help verify your decisions and deter payers from second-guessing them.
  2. Risk: Billing Irregularities
    Payers also love to see billing consistency, so fluctuating rates attract scrutiny.
    Solution: Standard Fee Schedules
    CentralReach’s fee schedules illustrate billing consistency and clearly calculate payments.
  3. Risk: Outdated Staff Credentials
    When payers and states change certification requirements, providers are expected to adapt to them. Continuing to practice with outdated credentials can prompt denying or revoking payments.
    Solution: CentralReach Marketplace
    CentralReach’s web-based Marketplace supports the exchange and verification of training materials. This makes continuing education accessible and convenient with this online portal.
  4. Risk: Faulty Billing Codes & Questionable Diagnoses
    Human error occurs in any industry, but some mistakes look suspicious to insurance companies.
    Solution: Integrated Practice Management Software
    When scheduling, authorizations and claims link to Clinical Notes templates, careless mistakes are easy to eliminate.
  5. Risk: Deviation from Industry Averages
    Any outlier from industry norms becomes vulnerable to payer scrutiny. For example, if you’re billing 50 hours a week, and BCBAs usually work 30, payers may ask for validation.
    Solution: Standardized Templates with Progress Reports
    When reports clearly illustrate client progress, they can verify deviations from the average.
  6. Risk: Obvious (and Less Obvious) HIPAA Violations
    From loose papers to crashing hard drives, HIPAA violations are expensive mistakes that will quickly prompt an investigation. Even less obvious offenses (including non-encrypted video calls) can become an auditing magnet.
    Solution: HIPAA-Compliant Document Management
    From sophisticated hackers to natural disasters, protecting information is a major responsibility. Having CentralReach equip you with a HIPAA-compliant system is a stress-free, efficient solution.
  7. Risk: Claim Errors
    Claims with incorrect billing and client information will eventually appear on an auditor’s radar. Combing for errors can be time-consuming, unless you’re using software.
    Solution: Ask for Help
    When your practice has the right partners involved, you can transform vulnerabilities into bulletproof audit-readiness:
    • Talk to your Clearinghouse: They will point out claim risks, but only if you ask!
    • Contact CentralReach: Our Claims Manager module has quality control filters that scrub claims prior to submission. Our support team can show you how.
    • Join our Webinar: Knowledge equals power! To learn what you can do, join our webinar on August 28th, 2015 at noon EST.

Co-Authored by Dr. Michael Cameron, and Christie Calahan, CentralReach’s Director of Marketing and Communication.
About Michael Cameron:
Michael J. Cameron, PhD, BCBA-D
Chief Scientific Officer, ObiGobi Solutions

It takes some serious courage to go it alone and start your own ABA therapy practice. Starting a solo practice can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but it can be a stressful endeavor without proper planning. If you’re the verge of stepping out on your own or have recently done so, you’re in the right place. Below are some common missteps that therapists make when opening their own therapy practice.

1. Underestimating time

So the saying goes, “the best time to start something is now,” and many therapists make the leap into private practice before they have looked into the steps necessary to ensure their success. If you want to avoid being one of the 8 out of 10 new business owners with failed ventures, then do your best to start your practice on the right foot. What does that mean and what does that have to do with timing? Starting a new ABA therapy practice takes more than your expertise in the field. You will need the aid of lawyers to help you navigate employment and business law, real estate agents to help you find the perfect space, and even other practice owners. Yes. You will need to study and learn from the competition. All of that requires a careful calculation of time that you need to consider when making the transition from employee to employer.

2. Underestimating cost

Unless you are independently wealthy, starting your own practice requires an outside investment of capital. In order to secure the right amount of funding to survive those lean startup years, you have to account for the type of services you will offer, the rate you will charge clients, how you intent to collect payment (private pay, insurance or both), the type of space you will need and more. Many new practice owners do not take the cost of an EMR or practice management system into consideration because they believe it’s an unnecessary initial expense. However, factoring in the cost of a practice management system upfront helps ensure your business is well-organized. Also, it saves you valuable time and money in the future. Starting your practice with a customizable EMR system is good preemptive way to develop best practices and procedures for your staff in everything from billing and claims to scheduling and contact management.

Technology has come a long way in healthcare. With some of the EMR and practice management systems available, therapists can track a client’s progress using electronic charting systems that will graph by everything from score and duration to percent independence and time sampling. In most cases, you probably have used an EMR in some form and are familiar with how it works. With therapy work increasingly migrating away from paper files to electronic data collection, it’s best to do your homework to find a system that will give you the most value for your money. Check with others in your specialty area (ABA therapy, SLP, etc) to see what EMR and practice management systems they would recommend. Research features you think you would need to get started and request a demo from various software companies that peak your interest.

4. Underestimating growth strategies

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst is a motto everyone has heard. However, the opposite is true as well. You need to plan for the BEST case scenario as well. Every practice owner wants establish a firm client base, attract new talent and grow their business over time. Surprisingly, many therapists underestimate how quickly their practice can expand because they are so focused on making sure their business survives those tricky first years. If you provide specialty services or open your practice in a under-served market, you can experience exceptional growth in a short amount of time. That is why is it important to have a plan in place in the event you have more growth than anticipated. How will you source, interview and hire qualified talent for your business? What positions will you need to hire for first to ensure that your practice doesn’t suffer tremendously from growing pains? Figuring out the answers to these and other questions will help save you time and allow you to make confident business decisions in the future.

5. Underestimating the business side of therapy

It’s likely that you decided to step out on your own because you want to provide top-notch care to patients. There is no reason that motivation cannot be the driving factor in your new venture but it certainly cannot be your only focus. You have to take care of business for your business to take care of you. If you don’t have much business savvy (and it’s perfectly okay if you don’t), remember to make the most of your time by learning all you can from the best in the business. Join LinkedIn groups to talk to other healthcare experts who have started their own practice. If you haven’t already, join professional organizations to get industry-specific updates and network with others who are doing what you wish to be. Many people are happy to offer their advise and some may be willing to even mentor you as well.