By: Zo Rana, M.A., BCBA

Navigating the realm of ABA billing can appear daunting to both newcomers and seasoned professionals alike. Behind the creation of Theralytics, my goal was to simplify and streamline this intricate process. Here, we will delve into pivotal aspects of billing that ABA companies often encounter.

The Importance of Credentialing

Credentialing isn’t a mere checkbox in our professional journey. Imagine a newly certified BCBA eager to provide services but faced with the challenge of an incomplete credentialing process. Some might be tempted to use a credentialed colleague’s details as a shortcut, especially when filling out essential forms like the claim form. A key detail on this form is box 24J, where the individual provider’s National Provider Identifier (NPI) is entered. Filling this incorrectly or using someone else’s NPI not only undermines the integrity of the billing process but also carries significant legal and ethical implications.

Credentialing serves as a testament to a professional’s qualifications, expertise, and readiness to offer services. For agencies and individual practitioners, it’s paramount to implement a robust system that continually monitors and updates credentialing statuses. Beyond just keeping track, it’s vital to ensure we’re always informed and accurate about the NPI we’re placing in box 24J of the claim form. This attention to detail is not merely beneficial—it’s essential. By adopting this proactive stance, risks are mitigated, and every service provided is in full alignment with regulatory standards.

Understanding Rendering Provider Requirements

The intricacies of billing in ABA often hinge on correctly identifying the rendering provider. Medicaid and commercial payers, with their unique requirements, further compound this challenge.

For Medicaid-bound services, the credentialing journey often initiates at the state level. Only after securing state-level credentials can providers advance to individual Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). This sequential approach, while ensuring thorough vetting, necessitates precise adherence to each step. Missteps or oversights can prolong the process, delaying essential services.

Contrastingly, commercial payers present a different challenge—a lack of standardization. Each payer can have distinctive guidelines, making adaptability and constant learning indispensable for BCBAs and ABA agencies.

Billing Ethically is Non-Negotiable

While billing might be seen by some as merely a backend operation, it holds a mirror to our professional ethics and commitment. Ensuring accuracy in billing is paramount.

Resorting to billing under a credentialed provider for services offered by an uncredentialed professional isn’t just unethical—it’s fraught with legal ramifications. For ABA professionals, this highlights the importance of a billing system that’s both transparent and anchored in ethical best practices. Every invoice should accurately represent the services rendered, fostering trust and safeguarding the agency’s reputation.

Single Case Agreements (SCAs) as a Temporary Solution

SCAs, in the context of ABA billing, offer a temporary respite when confronted with immediate credentialing challenges. They are designed to prevent disruptions in client services during unforeseen circumstances.

However, SCAs shouldn’t be mistaken for a long-term solution. They serve as a stopgap, allowing continuity of service while the comprehensive credentialing process progresses in the background.

How to Secure a Single Case Agreement

While SCAs provide a crucial bridge in specific scenarios, obtaining them requires a systematic methodology:

  1. Determine the Need: Clearly articulate and document the immediate need for an SCA. Is it due to a sudden departure of a credentialed professional? An unexpected surge in caseload?
  2. Reach out to the Payer: Initiate a conversation with the client’s insurance company. Familiarizing oneself with their provider relations department can streamline this interaction.
  3. Gather Documentation: Consolidate all pertinent documents. This might range from the client’s current treatment plan to a letter detailing the urgency and potential ramifications if services are halted.
  4. Submit the Request: Forward the SCA application as per the insurer’s stipulated procedures.
  5. Stay Proactive: Actively track the status of your application. Consistent communication can expedite the process.
  6. Review the Agreement: Upon approval, closely examine the SCA’s terms, ensuring compliance during its tenure.
  7. Continue with Regular Credentialing: An SCA is a band-aid. Concurrently, ensure the standard credentialing process progresses without delay.

Keeping Up with Changing Payer Guidelines

The fluid landscape of payer guidelines underscores the importance of continuous learning and adaptability. Regular shifts in these guidelines necessitate a proactive stance, rather than a reactive one.

Incorporating dedicated roles or tools like Theralytics can ensure real-time updates, making compliance less cumbersome. By consistently aligning with the most recent payer standards, agencies can avoid pitfalls and ensure smooth service delivery.


Theralytics was conceptualized to address and alleviate challenges inherent to ABA billing. As we venture deeper into this domain, let’s prioritize precision, transparency, and ethics. Our diligence in billing not only impacts our immediate operations but echoes throughout the ABA community and the clients we serve.