Remote mental health services were already transitioning to more and more remote services before the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid advance in remote technology and communication systems has opened new doors that ABA therapists around the world have been using to stay connected with the patients who rely on their care.
Many patients have a support team already in place to facilitate the use of advanced communication technology. This has the net benefit of helping ABA therapists connect with more patients and stay on top of advancing their treatment outcomes.
Of course, there are some caveats to keep in mind when it comes to taking your ABA therapy practice remotely or taking on more remote patients. In this article, we’ll look at some of the helpful steps you can take to manage your ABA therapy practice remotely as well as how it can benefit your current and potential new patients.
The Benefits of Remote ABA Therapy Services
There are several potential benefits to offering your ABA therapy services remotely. Especially in remote communities where travel and weather hazards can be prohibitive. This includes:
- The ability to work with more patients
- The opportunity to closely connect with a patient’s support team
- Offering services to patients in remote areas
- Facilitating capable patients with technology use
- Greater consistency in your practice’s revenue stream
- Closer oversight of treatment plans and outcomes
Getting Started With Remote ABA Therapy Services
The first step in transitioning to taking on more patients for remote ABA therapy services is to make sure the technology is available on both ends. This includes equipment like:
- A headset with a mute button
- Telehealth software
- A good internet connection
- Ensuring that patients have access to similar technology and/or a tablet
Create A Dedicated Home Office Space
A lot of ABA therapy providers who offer remote services will work from home to some degree. The problem is that it becomes very easy to be distracted if you’re sitting at your kitchen table, or working in the living room. The desire to load the dishwasher, pick up the living room floor or other works creep issues can lead to massive inefficiencies in your schedule.
By setting aside a dedicated home office space you create increased separation between you and those distractions. You can also better tailor the background to be more presentable, which can help some patients and caregivers who are concerned about decreased professionalism in remote working environments.
Having your own dedicated home office space also gives you the ability to set aside key equipment. You can keep your session notes, your research periodicals, medical billing code book, and other ancillary materials in their own dedicated space. This will help you find what you need in an instant, which isn’t always the case when you have your work spread out throughout the house!
Training For Your Staff & Employees
All of your employees, administrative personnel and clinical staff need to be up to date on industry best practices for telehealth services. This includes making sure that all your medical billing and coding staff are trained on some of the key CPT codes and other designations for telehealth services.
Gradually Phase In Remote ABA Services
It can take time for everyone to adjust to remote telehealth services. You, your staff, your patients, and your support team might all need some transition time. This might include gradually phasing in a small number of patients to remote services, or only having one or two remote sessions for the first few weeks for everyone to iron out the kinks.
As time goes on, you can increase the number of remote sessions for a single patient. You can then increase the number of patients who use remote services. It also gives you time to learn the best answer to a lot of common questions that patients might have when they tackle the learning curve of remote ABA therapy sessions.
Develop a Time Management System
Time is the one thing you can’t buy more of, and when your schedule is disorganized, it’s easy to accidentally waste time on tasks that aren’t helping you or your patients. When developing a schedule you need to make sure you are building in a variety of factors. This includes:
- Time for direct interaction with patients
- Time for research
- Time for data entry & medical coding
- Time communicating with a patient’s support team
- Coordinating with your clinical staff
- Coordinating with your administrative staff
- Time spent working on medical billing, and submitting claims
- Setting aside time to respond to claim questions from payer institutions
Streamline Your Coding & Medical Billing
In any ABA therapy practice coding and ABA billing takes away from clinical time. While you might be saving more time by transitioning to remote ABA therapy sessions, you inevitably will still have to spend a lot of time coding, handling medical billing, communicating with payers, and monitoring your revenue stream.
One of the best ways to save you time and buy yourself some peace of mind is to outsource your medical billing needs to a third-party agency like Operant Billing Solutions. We are adept at handling coding and medical billing services for ABA therapists.
Knowing that our expert coding technicians are pouring over your claims and monitoring your revenue stream frees you up to have even more time to spend on more important aspects of managing your ABA therapy services remotely.
This includes the opportunity to spend more time with individual patients, as well as the chance to see more patients in a given week or month. You also get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have true experts working to reduce any potential errors in your claims, long before they are submitted to a payer, insurance provider, or public health institution.
We submit claims with a higher degree of accuracy and check each data field to make sure all the correct codes are used in all the correct ways. This further translates into less time spent trying to respond to claim questions, as well as a more consistent revenue stream.