Bayada Home Health Care is expanding its hybrid of center-based and on-location Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services to New Jersey with plans to grow the services elsewhere.
In August, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit home health care giant opened the Pennsauken Center for Applied Behavior Analysis Services in New Jersey.
The center is located at the company’s global support center and will serve adults and children in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
Founded in 1975, Bayada is a home health provider. Its services include nursing, therapeutic, assistive, habitation, hospice and behavioral health care. It employs about 29,000 and operates out of 390 offices in 24 U.S. states and in Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
The move marks the first time the company has expanded ABA services to a new state. Bayada acquired the Hawai’i assets of Lakewood, Colorado-based Trumpet Behavioral Health in 2014, just before the passage of state law mandating minimum coverage of autism treatment services.
Bayada used the Hawai’i ABA services as a model and test case over the years. Today, the organization operates two centers and five offices in the state, Jessica Shea-Brown, behavioral health services regional director for Bayada, told Behavioral Health Business.
“We’ve always had the vision of being able to serve additional individuals,” Brown said, adding that the expansion effort picked up in April, the same month she joined the company. “The first driver for us is: Is there a need? … Despite there being other providers, there are still access issues.”
Families in the area have expressed similar concerns of those in other states with limited access to ABA services — long wait lists after a diagnosis and insurance issues, Brown said.
The center will take commercial and Medicaid insurance plans. It will also work with area schools to provide students with services.
The latest autism rate estimates in the U.S. suggest that between 1 in 32 and 1 in 29 children have the life-long condition.
Bayada gives itself wide latitude for growth by offering on-location and center-based care.
At present, the center employs about 10 people but will likely get up to 80 to 100 staffers as it takes on new clients, Brown said.
“At any given point, we can work with 50 to 60 individuals simultaneously in the center,” Brown said. “But whoever we’re working with in homes or in the community, that’s kind of limitless because we don’t have the space issue.”
Bayada intends to expand ABA services throughout the rest of the U.S., but Brown declined to specify when or where the organization will go.
Bayada has also launched the Bayada RBT Academy, a training center that will pay new employees to become board-certified registered behavioral technicians. This will help the company address the workforce challenges plaguing many autism treatment providers.
RBTs are the front-line care providers in ABA settings and work under the direction of board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs), providers with graduate-level education and training.
Bayada has partnered with community organizations and universities to also give providers-in-training with internships.
“So far we’ve had success with that,” Brown said. “There’s very robust clinical infrastructure and support.”
While Bayada and other home health companies have services that address some behavioral health symptoms, it’s not common to see dedicated in-home behavioral health services.
Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) vet Kris Engskov revealed a home health startup that will focus on caring for elders with brain health and mental health issues, starting with dementia. Aware Recovery Care provides in-home addiction treatment and is the only scaled provider of such services.
Others in the space are looking to bring autism services into the home through virtual modalities. For example, Brightline, a digital pediatric behavioral health provider, has raised just under $220 million in funds. Additionally, Springtide, a tech-backed autism service provider, has raised $18.1 million to help provide virtual care to patients.