Standard Development

Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) works to strengthen the nation’s use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) by facilitating the development of technically sound ABA standards and by promoting the adoption of those standards by the ABA community.

These standards are written documents that define minimum requirements, best practices, standard protocols, and other guidance to help ensure that the outcomes of ABA services are reliable and effective.

BHCOE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and BHCOE’s standard-setting subject matter experts serve on the BHCOE Commission. The BHCOE Commission members represent a variety of stakeholders including government agencies, faculty, clinicians, consumer-advocates, payers, employers and administrators.

These BHCOE Commission members have expertise in a variety of specific behavior analytic disciplines, as well as general expertise in applied behavior analysis research, healthcare, measurement science, statistics, law, and policy.

ANSI Accredited Standards Developer

BHCOE commission members work together to develop and evaluate ABA standards via a transparent, consensus-based process that allows for participation and comment by all stakeholders.

BHCOE’s Policies and Procedures state that “Notification of standards development activity shall be announced in suitable media as appropriate to demonstrate an opportunity for participation by all directly and materially affected persons.”

To learn more about the value of the American National Standard designation, click here.

Public Commentary Guidelines:

Openness is a very important feature of the U.S. voluntary standardization system. To help ensure such openness, ANSI procedures require a public review and comment period for American National Standards activities and for any procedures submitted for accreditation or reaccreditation by a standards developer.

Comments should be received by BHCOE by the deadline (earlier if possible) to ensure consideration by the Committee.

Comments should be set forth using the BHCOE Public Commentary Form as follows:

  • Page Number, Line Number, in the document;
  • Comments/objection;
  • Rationale for comment/objection; and
  • Suggested alternative text to resolve comment/objection.
  • The above format is not required for comments concerning typographical errors; simply identify the nature and location of the error (e.g., by page, and line number).
  • Failure to comply fully with these instructions may cause comments to be considered non-persuasive.
  • If comments are not provided using the public commentary form, they will not be considered by the BHCOE ANSI Commission.
  • All comments must be sent to You may also CC:

Download the BHCOE Public Commentary Form

Current Standard Development Activities Include:

BHCOE Standard 101: Standard for the Documentation of Clinical Records for Applied Behavior Analysis Services

  • Title of Standard: Standard for the Documentation of Clinical Records for Applied Behavior Analysis Services
  • Abstract: This standard describes appropriate documentation for Applied Behavior Analysis Service delivery and how to provide accurate and supportive medical record documentation.
  • Project Need: Clinical record keeping is an integral component in clinical best practice and the delivery of quality clinical services. Regardless of the form of the records (i.e. electronic or paper), appropriate clinical records should enable continuity of care and should enhance communication between all parties impacted by the delivery of services.
  • Note: The proposed standard is closed for public commentary as of August 19th at 5 PM PST.
  • Join the BHCOE Commission Meetings to listen to the discussion about the comments received:
    • Monday, August 19th, 2019 — 10 AM PST (Registration Closed)
    • Monday, September 30th, 2019 — 10 AM PST (Registration Closed)
    • Monday, December 9th, 2019 — 11 AM PST (Registration Closed)
    • Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 — 10 AM PST (Registration Closed)
    • Monday, March 2nd, 2020 — 10AM PST — Register here
    • Tuesday March 17th, 2020 — 9 AM PST Register here
Download BHCOE Standard 101

BHCOE Standard 201: Standards & Guidelines for Effective Applied Behavior Analysis Organizations

  • Title of Standard: Standards & Guidelines for Effective Applied Behavior Analysis Organizations
  • Abstract: The BHCOE’s Standards & Guidelines for Effective Applied Behavior Analysis Organizations (the “BHCOE Standards”) includes 7 sections relevant to the professional and ethical behavior of organizations providing Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, along with suggested evidence of compliance.
  • Project Need: To date, there are no standards and guidelines for organizations that provide Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. These standards and guidelines focus on areas needed to deliver and sustain high-quality services, manage treatment costs, and reduce risk and liability. The areas of the standards include areas such as operations and compliance; liability and risk; intake and hiring; ethics and consumer protection; staff qualifications; training and oversight; treatment programming; outcome measurement; employee engagement and more.
  • Note: The Project Initiation Notification (PIN) period is now closed for this standard. Please check back for a copy of the proposed standard and for BHCOE’s public commentary requirements.

Operating Procedures for Standards Development

Read the operating procedures for the development of BHCOE consensus standards.

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