On Monday, June 24th, 2019, MassABA (Massachusetts Association for Applied Behavior Analysis) and BABAT (Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy) partnered to promote an advocacy day at the State House in Boston, MA in support of the proposed behavior analyst licensure bill. Director of Clinical Services, Jason Zeigler was in attendance at this event to advocate for the proposed licensure bills on behalf of Autism Allies, Inc. A luncheon and advocacy briefing was held at the Umass Club on Beacon Street prior to the committee hearing on the bill. At this luncheon, members of various organizations and ABA companies were present to receive information about the proposed bills and guidelines for how to effectively advocate for these legislative measures. During the luncheon, leaders of the hosting organizations, Mr. Joseph Vedora, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LABA (Past President of MassABA) and Mrs. Stacie Bancroft, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA (President of BABAT)spoke to the constituents as well as one of the champions of the Senate bill, Senator Sal DiDomenico. The speakers shared the importance of advocacy and being a part of the growth and dissemination of the field of Applied Behavior Analysis in the state of Massachusetts.
The proposed licensure bill and testimonial were heard by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on Monday, June 24th, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The bill was heard as part of the committee meeting on “Regulation, Professional Licensure-Ch. 112, New and Existing Licenses, Misc., Above Quota Licenses”. This hearing was in support for House Bill H.3479 and Senate Bill S.134 “An Act Relative to Applied Behavior Analysts”
The licensing committee hearing occurred under chairmen Senator Paul Feeney and House Representative Tackey Chan. The bill is set to create an individual licensing body for Massachusetts state licensure for Applied Behavior Analysts (currently identified as the “LABA” credential). This bill will also help to expedite the review of applications for LABA licensure and provide services to families quicker. Currently, insurance providers require a BCBA to also have their LABA licensure before being credentialed under their company. This means that until the LABA license is officially received a clinician cannot provide insurance-based services for children with autism. This slows the process of families getting needed services and forces them to be placed on wait lists (often for 6-12 months) before receiving behavior analytic services.
The proposed bills will adjust licensing criteria to align the LABA credential more closely with criteria for BACB licensure. This bill proposes an independent board to oversee licensing and the regulation of Applied Behavior Analysts in Massachusetts. This legislation will also expand the licensure criteria for LABAs to include Psy.D. and Doctorate level BCBAs to become licensed. Currently, certain levels of credentialed BCBAs are not eligible for licensure in Massachusetts unless they were grandfathered in under the previous legislation. The hope is that these amendments will simplify the process for approving LABA licenses and correspond with best practices for licensing and regulation of professional licensure at the state level. Those testifying on behalf of the proposed bills included Mrs.Julie Fitzpatrick (parent of a child with autism), Mrs. Amy Weinstock (Director of Autism Resource Center and parent of a child with autism), Dr. Joseph Vedora of MassABA, and Dr. Stacie Bancroft of BABAT.