Scenario: Agency director (LBA) resigned at the same time as the only other LBA at the agency. LBA tendered resignation with six weeks’ notice. Following resignation notice, the agency is insisting on LBA submitting prior authorization and completing ABA assessments for new clients. Agency is requesting that the LBA complete assessment and hand off data collected to a future, unspecified behavior analyst to develop treatment recommendations and continued care. No additional BCBAs or LBAs are currently employed or credentialed with funders at the agency.
Relevant background: The BCBA and director expressed concerns regarding obvious inability to guarantee services for clients given lack of available provider. Agency has also delayed communication with current clients’ families regarding BCBA’s departure and possible disruption of services. Director and BCBA have expressed verbally and in writing the importance of timely notification of families. Agency owner is licensed in another field and has their own ethical code of conduct to uphold.
Possible solutions: Delay intake of additional clients until new LBA is on board and credentialed as a provider. Refer all waitlist clients to other agencies. Immediately communicate staffing changes to all current clients/families and provide other agency recommendations.
Credentialing: LBA’s supervisor is not a BCBA and is not bound by BACB ethical code of conduct.
Committee Input (e.g., considerations for pathways forward, potential barriers, potential solutions):
Ethics Code 3.03 describes the parameters in which a behavior analyst would accept clients including but not limited to available staffing. Without a clear pathway for transition personnel identified, and evidence that those personnel have the requisite credentialing, we advise caution in accepting and assessing new clients.
Ethics Code 3.04 requires a clear service agreement to be completed before services begin – the service agreement requires the roles and responsibilities of all necessary parties be outlined – it is unclear based on the provided information if that would be possible given the circumstance. The LBA should exercise caution for new/additional service agreements and ensure that their role is defined clearly, including their exit timeline for the client/stakeholders.
Ethics Code 3.16 and 3.13 outline the LBA’s obligation for transitions of care and referrals to other providers = ensuring that families avoid disruptions in services. This would be the recommendation should no additional behavior analyst be identified in the time available for LBA.
Considerations for Explorations:
It is recommended that the reportee explore the following steps, if they haven’t been completed to date, including documenting all actions taken and the eventual outcomes:
- Communicate, per the ECBA, the requirements for client acceptance, service agreements, and transitions of care to agency leadership as mentioned.
- Educate families on options for other providers, and support navigation/transition, if desired. Consult the Continuity of Services Toolkit provided by the BACB.
- The LBA may consider a review of the ethics code/code of conduct subscribed to by organizational leadership and determine if standards relating to assessment, coordination of care, or transition of services are indicated.
Applicable Ethics Codes and ARS (identified by the committee)
- 3.03 Accepting Clients
- 3.04 Service Agreements
- 3.13 Referrals
- 3.16 Appropriately transitioning services
- ARS 32-2091.12(v)