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Licensing behavior analysts would be benefit for state: Tom Mehaffie

Posted 6/26/19

Many Pennsylvanians struggle with addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, intellectual disabilities and other chronic conditions.

Professionals who use the science of applied behavior analysis …

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Licensing behavior analysts would be benefit for state: Tom Mehaffie

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Many Pennsylvanians struggle with addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, intellectual disabilities and other chronic conditions.

Professionals who use the science of applied behavior analysis seek to develop positive outcomes for people with these conditions. They focus on improving behaviors and developing skills through therapy.

Decades of research show how effective applied behavior analysis is. However, Pennsylvania has a two-fold problem — a shortage of qualified providers and people claiming to use applied behavior analysis when they are not properly educated or trained. I worry that this situation harms some of the most vulnerable people in society.

I will introduce legislation in the House to establish a professional licensure for board-certified behavior analysts to be able to practice in Pennsylvania.

Thirty states have laws that allow residents to be assured they are working with skilled providers. They are called board-certified behavior analysts. Currently, there is no professional license in Pennsylvania to ensure that those practicing are skilled.

Board-certified behavior analysts must earn a master’s degree that meets content requirements, must have supervised experience and pass an international exam.

When qualified providers deliver the care, outcomes improve and costs go down. Many studies have demonstrated the cost savings to the education system and society when intervention is delivered on time by skilled providers. Licensing behavior analysts has the real potential to reduce health care costs, including those borne by private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare.

Licensing behavior analysts can create thousands of jobs in the state. We can keep trained professionals in Pennsylvania rather than watch them seek employment in the other states where creditable licensing programs have been established. Attracting talented providers to work in our commonwealth to deal with our provider shortage will be almost impossible until we, too, have licensure.

Licensing not only makes sense for the economy but for people in our society who will have better access to treatment.

State Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara Township, represents the 106th House District. Reach him at 717-534-1323 or tmehaffie@pahousegop.com.