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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Licenses,ABA, Insurance, and Virginia

A couple of days ago, the issue of licensure cast a shadow on the managed-care agreement in California. It has come up in Virginia, too. Elizabeth Simpson writes at the Virginian-Pilot:
Families of children with autism celebrated the passage of a law earlier this year that would require insurance to cover a costly treatment for the developmental disorder.

But advocates who worked more than a decade for the law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012, were disappointed to find out that an amendment made by the governor could delay a key piece as long as two years.

One of the governor's amendments requires therapists of Applied Behavioral Analysis -- the gold standard treatment for autism -- to be licensed by the state of Virginia.

The regulatory process to set up a new license in Virginia takes 18 months to two years to complete, according to Karin Addison, a special adviser in the state's office of Health and Human Services. She said the law does not contain a fast-tracking clause, which could have sped up the process.

Even if legislators tried to add a fast-tracking clause to the law now, only 10 objections are needed to derail such an effort, which would be likely given the controversial nature of the law.

Opponents included the National Federation of Independent Business, Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Virginia Association of Health Plans. They opposed the law because of the increased cost to companies during an economically difficult time.
For a substantive argument in favor of licensure, see Michael F Dorsey, Ph.D., BCBA, Michael Weinberg, Ph.D., BCBA, Thomas Zane, Ph.D., BCBA, and Megan M Guidi, M.S. Ed., BCBA
"The Case for Licensure of Applied Behavior Analysts,"
Behav Anal Pract. 2009 Spring; 2(1): 53–58.

[As] a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.


The licensing of occupations is a possible use of the political process to improve the economic circumstances of a group. The license is an effective barrier to entry because occupational practice without the license is a criminal offense.