Evernorth and Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Collaborate to Measure Health Outcomes for Autism Treatment

First-of-its-kind partnership will establish quality performance metrics
to drive improvements in quality of therapy for autism spectrum disorder

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. and BLOOMFIELD, Conn. April 14, 2022 — Evernorth, the health services business of Cigna Corporation, and Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), a data-driven health services accreditor, today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership for people with autism. The new partnership will allow the organizations to collaborate on developing quality performance measures that will help people with autism and their caregivers assess the quality of their treatment.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most well-researched and effective intervention that focuses on the unique experiences and challenges of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite its success, obstacles and challenges exist because of the absence of common performance metrics to assess quality of care and health outcomes among ABA providers.

Through this collaboration, Evernorth and BHCOE will work to establish foundational measures for ABA treatment. These measures will help patients, caregivers, providers and health plans better assess the overall quality of delivered care, and to assess patient outcomes as aligned with national health care quality standards in behavioral health. Evernorth behavioral health clients, as well as Cigna health plan customers who receive health coverage through their employer or marketplace exchange plans, will be among the first to benefit from these standard performance metrics.

“Autistic individuals and their families deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing the services they receive have met clear metrics for quality and effectiveness. That is what Evernorth and BHCOE can help deliver by establishing this foundation for consistent performance standards grounded in evidence-based practice,” said Darren Sush, Head of Autism and Psychology, Behavioral Health at Evernorth. “Together, we can build innovative value-based care models and help our network of ABA providers drive quality improvements.”

This agreement comes at a critical time for ensuring access to quality services for individuals with autism. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a higher prevalence — an 18% increase over two years — of autism in children than ever before.

“The BHCOE Evernorth partnership is intentional in its goal to serve the growing autism community need for quality care,” says Sara Litvak, BHCOE Chief Executive Officer. “The collaboration of our two organizations marks a critical turning point toward a future where evidence and quality-based measures demonstrate the beneficial outcomes of ABA services and expand access by aligning care with value-driven reimbursement systems. It’s exciting to partner with a company of Evernorth’s vision and scale as we continue on BHCOE’s mission to improve person-centered behavioral health.”

Evernorth and BHCOE will work together to improve quality and access to autism treatment by:

  • Advancing patient-centered and value-based care by increasing transparency for patients and caregivers about the quality of care delivered by various ABA providers.
  • Ensuring patients and providers have a voice in the design of a value-based structures.
  • Helping providers identify treatment methods shown to have the greatest positive impact on their patients.
  • Increasing and incentivizing the number of ABA providers delivering high-quality services to patients.

About Evernorth
Evernorth creates and connects premier health services offerings, including benefits management, pharmacy, care solutions, insights and intelligence. With an open approach to partnering across the health care landscape, we deliver innovative and flexible solutions for health plans, employers and government programs. Evernorth capabilities are powered by our family of companies, including Express Scripts, Express Scripts® Pharmacy, Accredo, eviCore and MDLIVE, along with holistic Evernorth platforms and solutions that elevate health and drive progress for people and businesses. All Evernorth solutions are serviced and provided by or through operating affiliates of Evernorth Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cigna Corporation, or third-party partners. Learn more at Evernorth.com.

Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® (BHCOE®) is an ANSI-accredited Standards Developer and an accrediting body within the autism field. Over the last seven years, BHCOE has dedicated itself to transforming care for people with autism and related developmental disabilities through a relentless focus on serving as a source for the autism community on how best to improve the quality of care, safety, well-being and life for patients and families.

About the CDC’s ADDM
The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is a program funded by CDC to collect data to better understand the number and characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities living in different areas of the United States.

Media Contacts

Anshula Ahluwalia

Kelly Mathews

Get Involved

Are you in-network with an Evernorth Health Plan and interested in enrolling in the Value-Based Care provider program?

Are you a parent or guardian interested in learning more about how BHCOE supports quality behavioral care?

Are you a payor interested in furthering a value-based care initiative and supporting access to autism treatment?

Learn More about BHCOE Accreditation


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