Hope Reach Overview
We currently serve over 200 children, providing 25-40 hours per week per child of intense Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy focusing on communication, behavioral, social, and cognitive skills. We offer center-based services in Greenville, Greenwood, Spartanburg, Pendleton, and Woodruff. Hope Reach is a two-time recipient of the United Way of the Piedmont's Program Excellence Award.
Hope Reach uses a team approach when providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. Each child’s treatment team consists of:
▪ 2-5 line therapists who work one-on-one in blocks of 2-3 hours,
▪ a Board Certified supervisor who develops and monitors the child’s individualized plan; and
▪ family members who implement the plan in “real life” situations outside of therapy.
To ensure that each child’s time is used efficiently, the treatment team (including family members) meet to evaluate the plan every month. We are grateful for financial support from Grace Church to help meet the funding gap for these month team meetings.
Applied Behavior Analysis Explained
ABA is a form of behavior analysis based on the findings of B.F. Skinner in the 1930s, including his book Verbal Behavior, published in 1957. In 1968, D.M. Baer, M.M. Wolf, and T.R. Risley defined ABA as the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement of behavior. They described ABA as having seven dimensions:
- application (social significance)
- behavioral (changes in behavior that are measurable)
- analytical (controllable)
- technological (replicable)
- effective, and
- general (persists over time, various environments, and spreads to other behaviors).
In 1987, Dr. Ivar Lovaas published a study showing the efficacy of ABA in treating children with autism, a finding that has been confirmed in hundreds of published studies and endorsed by many, including the US Surgeon General.
UPDATE: Even with the recent increase, South Carolina Medicaid's reimbursement rate for ABA therapy is unsustainable, making it impossible for us to accept new clients whose primary funding is through Medicaid, the PDD Waiver, TEFRA or BabyNet. Please contact us so that we can add your name to the list of those who are not being served to help us demonstrate the need for better rates to the SC Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS), the state agency that administers Medicaid. We encourage you to also contact SCHDDS, our governor, and your state legislators to express your concerns about this issue. For more details, see below under "Funding Information."
If you are interested in receiving ABA therapy from Hope Reach, please fill out our HOPE Services Application.
Once your information from the application has been reviewed, you will receive a Client Information Questionnaire from our intake coordinator. This will give us the information we need to prepare for a Prospective Client Evaluation Session with you, your child and one of our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). There is a $125 administrative fee for this evaluation.
Once this initial evaluation has been completed, we will make a recommendation for a specific placement for your child. If you accept this recommendation, you will be placed on our waiting list and given a numerical number and tentative wait time for this specific placement.
Funding Information for Hope Reach Services
Under Ryan’s Law, certain South Carolina insurance companies must cover Applied Behavior Analysis services.
When did Ryan’s Law go into effect?
It covers from the first renewal date of the insurance policy after July 1, 2008.
What insurance policies fall under the mandate of Ryan’s Law?
At this time, coverage is clear for two types of policies:
- Policies for South Carolina state employees, and
- Group policies with more than 50 employees that are written in South Carolina and are not “self-insured” policies.
It is worth pursuing coverage with any insurance company because clarification of Ryan’s Law is still progressing.
Medicaid, BabyNet and PDD Waiver Funding
Even with its recent increase, South Carolina's Medicaid rates do not cover the actual cost for ABA services. Due to these unsustainable rates, Hope Reach is not accepting any new clients whose only funding is Medicaid, PDD Waiver, BabyNet or TEFRA.
The situation for children and families impacted by autism in South Carolina is dire. Every day, more families are left waiting for services. Twenty (20) percent of SC ABA providers have gone out of business during the last eighteen months, with even more struggling to stay afloat due to the inadequate reimbursement for line therapy. Without a rate increase that covers costs, access to ABA therapy will not improve.
Project HOPE Foundation continues to actively advocate on this issue. We encourage all families affected by this situation to contact:
· SC DHHS at firstname.lastname@example.org
· Governor's Office at 803-734-2100, and
· your state legislators (http://www.scstatehouse.gov).
HOPE Reach Program Staff
Mark Knight, BCBA
Scott Braud, BCBA
Allison Petralia, BCBA
Bethany Welborn-Ruhl, BCBA