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


One-of-a-kind partnership will establish quality performance metrics to help improve the quality of therapy for autism spectrum disorders

LOS ANGELES, Calif. and BLOOMFIELD, Connecticut, April 14, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evernorth, the health services business of Cigna Corporation, and Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), a data-driven health services accrediting body, today announced a one-of-a-kind partnership for people with autism. The new partnership will allow organizations to work together to develop 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 documented and effective intervention that focuses on the unique experiences and challenges of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Despite its success, barriers and challenges exist due to the lack of common performance measures to assess quality of care and health outcomes among ABA providers.

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

“People with autism and their families deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the services they receive have met clear measures of quality and effectiveness. That’s what Evernorth and BHCOE can help provide. by establishing this foundation for consistent performance standards based on practical evidence,” said Darren Sush, Autism and Psychology Lead, Behavioral Health at Evernorth. “Together, we can create innovative models of care based on value and help our network of ABA providers improve quality.”

This agreement comes at a critical time to ensure access to quality services for people 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 meet the growing needs of the autism community for quality care,” said Sara Litvak, CEO of BHCOE. “The collaboration of our two organizations marks a critical shift toward a future where evidence-based metrics and quality 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 pursue BHCOE’s mission to improve person-centered behavioral health.”

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

  • Advance patient-centered, value-based care by increasing transparency for patients and caregivers about the quality of care delivered by diverse ABA providers.

  • Ensure that patients and providers have a say in the design of values-based structures.

  • Help providers identify treatment methods that have the greatest positive impact on their patients.

  • Increase and encourage the number of ABA providers offering high quality services to patients.

About Evernorth

Evernorth creates and connects best-in-class healthcare service offerings, including benefits management, pharmacy, care solutions, insights and intelligence. With an open partnership approach across the healthcare landscape, we provide 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, as well as Evernorth holistic platforms and solutions that improve 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.


BHCOE is an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer and Autism Credentialing Body. For the past seven years, BHCOE has been dedicated to transforming care for people with autism and related developmental disabilities with a relentless focus on source service for the autism community on the best way to improve the quality of care, safety, well-being and lives of patients and families. To learn more about BHCOE, visit www.bhcoe.org.

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