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Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Shortage in Nevada

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss state Medicaid services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

AT KUNR radio, Anh Gray reports:
Dr. Shannon Crozier is the Director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder. She says the Nevada Department of Education has identified that there are about 7,000 young people diagnosed with autism and there aren’t enough RBTs [registered behavior technicians] to serve them.
“There are currently 274 registered behavior technicians in Nevada,” Crozier says. “A shortage of RBTs is really going to affect kids and families across the state at every level.”
Crozier says the reasons for the shortage are complex. For one, the RBT certification is new and that profession is still growing. Crozier says another problem is that at the start of this year, a new Medicaid-sponsored autism program began reimbursing nearly 2,000 eligible families for this service, which creates more demand.
“It’s going to be very difficult for newly diagnosed children to get access to services,” Crozier says. “A shortage for Nevada is really going to be felt very strongly and intimately by the individual families who are struggling to find people who are going to come and work with their children.”
Parents and autism advocates have also criticized the program saying that the approximately $30 Medicaid reimbursement rate is about $10 too low and won’t attract new and quality people to the field. Medicaid officials say it’s a fair market rate.

But Crozier says the combined issues exacerbating the shortage make it so families must wait to get the help they need.
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board defines RBT this way:
The Registered Behavior TechnicianTM (RBTTM) is a paraprofessional who practices under the close, ongoing supervision of a BCBA, BCaBA, or FL-CBA. The RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services. The RBT does not design intervention or assessment plans. It is the responsibility of the RBT supervisor to determine which tasks an RBT may perform as a function of his or her training, experience, and competence. The BACB certificant supervising the RBT is responsible for the work performed by the RBT on the cases they are overseeing.