With the start of Autism Acceptance Month in April, Senior Manager of Clinical Care Services Cara Albanese is focused on creating innovative and inclusive ways to better serve the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Albanese, who has been with Magellan for over six years, oversees the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) operations in the California markets, including ABA Services for some commercial accounts. As manager of a team of eight employees, Albanese and her team review treatment plans and work directly with ABA providers to ensure adherence to the main objectives for their membership and that treatments align with the Magellan Health standards that provide members with the best care possible. Continue reading to learn more about what innovative programs and new initiatives for individuals with ASD Albanese is working on:


What sort of projects are you currently working on?

We started piloting a value-based model for ABA in October in our California market. Magellan is pioneering this type of program for ABA services. Now we are working on evaluating the findings to establish evidence-based practices and drive outcomes-based programs across the ABA industry. Implementing this program will allow us to evaluate treatment planning and delivery to continuously improve care for children with ASD and help the families who care for them.

What are your thoughts on the culture here at Magellan? How does that culture make Magellan the best place to do these innovative projects?

Magellan has a very strong culture of innovation and values our members’ satisfaction. We’re always looking to grow the field and improve data-driven outcomes for our membership. At Magellan, we continue to expand our knowledge and look at autism services across the industry as we continue the growth of our department. We work with a multidisciplinary team giving us insights from a variety of medical professionals. Being able to work with a variety of medical professionals ensures that our members are receiving the best care, as we can provide a holistic and prudent approach to care. Our clinical leadership at Magellan creates a supportive and collaborative environment to think outside the box and increase innovative thinking.

What does Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month mean to you?

The prevalence of autism has continued to rise to a rate of one in 36 children in the United States. Most individuals know someone who has autism or some experience with someone diagnosed with autism. This increased awareness allows us to start to support this population as a community. We can do this as clinicians by modifying and changing the science around ABA to support the current needs of the ASD population and their families. We can continue to increase inclusivity of children and adults with ASD, as they may learn and engage differently. Everyone should be embraced for their individual abilities.