Demand for autism services continues to soar as the incidence of autism rises. But in 2022, the burgeoning industry faces a host of growing challenges around staffing.
By 2022, approximately 1 in 44 children will be identified with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the CDC. This is up from her one child to her 69 in 2012.
Providers are struggling to keep up with these inflated numbers. supply has fallen short.
“Because there are not enough skilled clinicians, [or] A licensed or certified clinician. There’s simply not enough right now,” Kathleen Bailey Stengel, her CEO of NeurAbilities Healthcare, said at her Behavioral Health Business INVEST conference. “So as employees, we have to really develop them in-house. We have to train them, we have to invest in them.”
This, combined with an increase in private equity investment, puts pressure on providers to show results.
Over the past few years, investors and ABA providers have sought to rapidly expand their footprint in order to gain market share and leverage in rate negotiations. However, this plan had some problems he had in 2022. Many of these providers have been forced to scale back operations to match the economic realities of the local job market and limited reimbursements.
In 2023, executives are turning to new technologies and innovations to scale their businesses and deliver more care. These innovations include digital tools such as virtual reality and creative ways to retain employees, such as reimbursement of education fees.
Read on for insights from autistic executives. BHB has edited the answer for length, style and clarity.
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The autism sector will continue to face headwinds related to labor supply and demand imbalances in 2023, leaving many with autism unable to access the providers and services they need. Given that these access challenges are likely to persist indefinitely, healthcare providers are encouraged to enhance their service delivery capabilities by leveraging available technologies (telemedicine, virtual reality, robotics, etc.). is wise. Address service gaps.
Although ABA is one of the only valid evidence-based treatments for autism today, ABA criticizes some forms of this interventional approach as coercive, punitive, or neurodiverse. are facing growing backlash from former consumers who see them as disrespectful of other points of view. 2023 will be the year of reckoning, an important voice to be heard and learned to promote diversity, equity and more responsible and ethical service delivery.
2023 is also the year we expect to see more opportunities for partnerships between providers, regulators, advocacy groups and payers focused on improving the quality of services provided and the outcomes achieved. For example, some managed care plans plan to initiate pilots to help evaluate interdisciplinary, integrated care models, addressing the physical, behavioral, and mental health needs of individuals with autism and their families. There is an increasing focus on quality of life outcomes that can be better addressed. This kind of work will explore how the sector thinks about value-based payment models to ensure providers are rewarded for delivering the outcomes that matter most to individuals with autism and their families. I need to let you know.
– Doug Moes, Chief Clinical Development Officer, The Stepping Stones Group
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For healthcare as a whole, the greatest challenge will continue to be the ability to recruit, train and retain qualified healthcare providers. This continues to be a major barrier to growth, particularly in the autism field, with an overall need for both medical and behavioral health examiners and skilled therapists for ongoing treatment. Although the incidence of autistic disorders continues to rise, clinical staff treating this population are not trained to the same proportions. It has been shown that the number of cases above 600 patients at a time must be maintained to meet demand. While this may be daunting, it is also an opportunity to innovate in service delivery.
Innovation can provoke thinking about technology, but technology alone cannot provide the necessary interventions to address needs. For that we need clinical staff. Service delivery innovation begins with enabling clinical staff to enter the field earlier than universities. For example, NeurAbilities recruits high school seniors and provides training and opportunities for a holistic exposure to the field.
After graduation, you can participate in our Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to facilitate educational and career opportunities in this field. This increases awareness, retention and development in the field.
However, technology can address efficiency in service delivery. Additionally, the trend towards interoperability will continue to be a major focus for service providers. Many technology platforms in the autism space do not offer a full continuum of services that enable clinicians and operations to be more efficient. Streamlining technology and processes during the uncertain times of 2023 will be emphasized across the board to reduce costs and increase end-user (clinician and patient) satisfaction.
– Kathleen Bailey Stengel, CEO, NeurAbilities Healthcare
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While the last year has brought new challenges for many ABA providers, 360 Behavioral Health is optimistic about the year ahead. Some providers that continue to face adoption constraints and stagnant reimbursement rates may require additional fairness. However, 2023 will be the year of 360 Behavioral Health’s growth and service line expansion.
We also expect to see continued consolidation of service providers, continued demand for quality care, and continued progress towards improving accessibility to all needed care.
– Rob Marsh, CEO, 360 Behavioral Health
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With an unmet need for services nationwide, Hopebridge is providing access to care to help more children reach new opportunities. As we head into 2023, we remain committed to our mission to serve more families by reinvesting in our employees, patients, communities and science.
Access to care remains a challenge for many, but Hopebridge is constantly working to bridge that gap by reaching underserved populations. We want every child to experience quality, compassionate care. It’s full of small daily victories leading to big impact. To listen and advocate for the autism community, to commit to values-based healthcare, to empower future clinicians through our unparalleled fellowship program, and to advance clinical outcomes across the science. means investing in clinical research.
While the healthcare sector has seen some recruitment challenges lately, Hopebridge feels that positive change can be made here. strives for a culture of gratitude, unparalleled learning and leadership building programs, career path growth, and, simply put, fun at work. We connect people with purpose, while supporting their goals and dreams along the way.
– Denise May, CEO, Hopebridge Autism Treatment Center
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While global economic concerns will affect providers of ABA services, we remain optimistic about the state of the industry in 2023. This is because the capacity gap is still too large to be closed any time soon. Families and children we serve. Some ABA providers have an adjustment period to manage increased staff-related costs and account for increased liability costs for the provider to cover them.
Overall, our customer base continues to grow at a healthy rate and we expect it to continue and accelerate in 2023. The companies that adopt technology most aggressively and invest in their staff are the most successful. I think we will continue to see a shift towards center-based services. In 2022, center-based billable charges grew 38% year-over-year, while home services grew only 3.1% year-over-year.
Securing human resources will be an important point next year. Estimated turnover rates for RBT currently range from 30% to 75%, so those organizations that can retain staff at the highest rates by investing in staff retention programs will be more likely to retain staff despite potential downward pressure. create a financial profile.
–CentralReach CEO Chris Sullens said: