New Collaboration Between Evernorth and BHCOE Seeks to Standardize, Improve Autism Treatment Outcomes

Two leading organizations in behavioral health are teaming up to bring better quality and metrics to the autism treatment space.

Evernorth and the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will develop quality performance measures to assess the care of people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The two organizations said that organizations that care for people with ASDs lack a common set of performance and quality measures for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the primary means of helping people with ASD.


Evernorth is the behavioral health business of Bloomington, Connecticut-based national health insurance company Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI). The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) is a Los Angeles-based accrediting body for the ASD space that develops voluntary consensus standards.

The collaboration’s aim is to establish “foundational measures for ABA treatment” to assess the quality of care and patient outcomes in comparison to national standards in behavioral health.

BHCOE and Evernorth will push for greater quality in the autism space by increasing the transparency around the quality of care delivered by ABA providers to advance patient-centered care and value-based care models. The new standards are also meant to ensure value-based care arrangements include the patient’s voice, identifying the most impactful treatments and increasing the number of ABA providers with high-quality services.


Evernorth behavioral health clients, as well as Cigna health plan customers who receive health coverage through their employer or marketplace exchange plans, will be among the first to benefit from these standard performance metrics, a press release on the news states.

“The BHCOE-Evernorth partnership is intentional in its goal to serve the growing autism [community’s] need for quality care,” BHCOE CEO Sara Litvak said in the release. “The collaboration of our two organizations marks a critical turning point toward a future where evidence and quality-based measures demonstrate the beneficial outcomes of ABA services and expand access by aligning care with value-driven reimbursement systems.”

The autism treatment space was very active for dealmaking in terms of investment and M&A until the last few years, following a big jump in transactions in 2018.

At the end of March, Palo Alto, California-based youth and family telebehavioral health company Brightline raised $105 million in a Series C funding round led by global investment firm KKR. Founded in 2019, the company rolled out a new autism services line at the beginning of the year.

Brightline also recently launched a digital coaching service for parents of young children with an ASD diagnosis.

Brightline Chief Psychiatric Officer Dr. David Grodberg told Behavioral Health Business that “outcomes are not very good” in the ABA space and that the practice is in its early days of establishing and measuring quality and impact.

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