Attendee Registration opens December 1st

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2023 keynote speaker

Allison Kluger, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Allison Kluger

Reputation Rules!

Our reputations are defined not by who WE think we are, but how other people perceive us. In business and in your personal lives, a strong and positive reputation can be like currency. A strong reputation will open doors for you, create lasting bonds, and present valuable opportunities. In today’s seminar we will discuss how to repair a damaged reputation, how to make a great first impression, what to be aware of your online reputation, and strategies to curate and maintain a positive working reputation among your colleagues and clients. Also covered will be topics that explore personal, team and corporate reputation. The good news is that no one is stuck in a reputation they don’t want. Reputation is on a continuum, and we are the masters of our reputation destiny. 

Allison Kluger is a four-time Emmy-nominated Producer with over 25 years of experience in broadcast media and entertainment, from network television to new media platforms including electronic retail, interactive television, and digital media. She is also a freelance writer and media consultant. Her superpower is being an innovative content creator and media coach across all platforms.

Presently Allison is a Lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in four courses: Reputation Management, Strategic Communication, and two classes she created: Personal Branding (which she teaches with Tyra Banks) and Strategic Pivoting for Your Next Chapter (Alex Rodriguez guest speaker). She also teaches the electives: Executive Presence for Women and Media Training.

Allison is the recipient of the Dorothy J. King Lecturer in Leadership for 2017-2018. She is an advisor for many of her graduate students’ new ventures, she mentors young women and men in leadership, communication tactics, and personal branding and gives lectures and keynote speeches all over the world. In her spare time, she is a voracious reader, is writing a book, officiates weddings, and raises her two boys and Australian Shepherd with her husband.

about the SUMMIt

The Autism Investor Summit provides a unique opportunity for autism service providers, investors and key stakeholders to meet in a private setting to discuss the autism services landscape, opportunities for investment and to discuss and learn about best practices and innovation in all areas of autism services.

The mission of this conference is to advance autism services and the outcomes for consumers by bringing together stakeholders from all aspects of the industry- service providers, advocates, legislators, payers, consumers, investors and researchers- to meet, network, share information and understand what the future holds for the autism industry.

Attendees will get to:
  • Meet one-on-one with industry investors, service providers, investment bankers and professionals
  • Learn the latest information on funding, legislation and clinical operations
  • Enhance your personal database with valuable new connections- share both ideas and contact information
  • Meet fellow service providers with the opportunity to have new and different conversations regarding the market, service needs and future of the industry
  • Understand which service models have the most robust outlook and how outcomes will impact the future of autism services
  • Hear from investors what they look for when exploring acquisitions
  • Learn the right questions to ask when conducting due diligence on companies in the industry
  • Learn about the current critical factors impacting autism service delivery models today
  • Discover what to look for in an investor and how to know when investment is right for you
  • Understand the keys to differentiation in the market place
AIS panel discussion from stage
AIS Program 2022

Opportunity

Investors are in a strong position to consolidate, expand, and create the kinds of economies of scale that are common in other sectors of healthcare, and in other industries. The autism service market is a highly fragmented marketplace with many opportunities for consolidation, favorable returns on investment and the elevation of regulation, meaningful clinical outcomes, professional development and oversight of care. Because autism treatment is a fairly new field, the industry lacks regulation and oversight. While this is a challenge when evaluating the quality of treatment centers, it’s also an opportunity to implement cutting-edge treatments and technologies. It is vital that investors understand the nuances of autism services and the issues service providers face when scaling their businesses.

Important Factors in the Current Autism Provider Landscape

Intervention

The predominant treatment for autism is based on the science and methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is one of the few areas that attracts bipartisan political support and as of August 2019, all 50 states in the U.S. mandate insurance coverage of autism services. Services are provided in the home, at center-based programs, at school, or in hybrid models that serve multiple locations. ABA is considered the gold standard of treatment for autism. The National Research council recommends a minimum of 25 hours per week of student engagement. While many service providers offer ABA-based programs, not all ABA is the same. It is critical to assess the quality of programming and service delivery when considering an investment in an autism company.

DEMAND

The ABA market is growing at twice the rate of other multi-site healthcare businesses. With greater awareness, we are seeing the beginnings of a reduction in the social stigma of autism and a formal diagnosis of autism leading more families to seek intervention and support. As funding for autism services and awareness of autism is expanding, more and more families are seeking services nationwide. Most providers report waiting lists for assessment and diagnosis, as well as intervention, leading to rapid growth in this industry. In addition, there are many underserved communities where services are lacking bringing multiple organic growth opportunities to existing providers.

Providers

In recent years, significant investments in autism service providers have occurred resulting in the beginning of consolidation of this market. This interest and investment trend is driving a new level of competition and increasing the standards against which providers need to comply and perform. Despite this growth, however; less than 20% of the autism service industry is owned by consolidators providing much opportunity for continued investment in this market. As consolidators continue to buy up the market, issues such as the integration of clinical methodologies, operational processes, regulatory compliance and administrative functions bring new challenges, especially because the industry is relatively young and unsophisticated from a business operations standpoint.

MArket

The total annual costs for children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in the United States are estimated to be between $11.5 billion and $60.9 billion — a significant economic burden. It is estimated that the current ABA service provider market is about $7bn with a TAM (total addressable market) of between $50-70bn. The ABA therapy market is expected to grow at a 25% CAGR over the next 3-5 years. The needs of the aging autism population are grossly under serviced providing significant needs across the nation and additional opportunities for investors and providers. Many autism treatment organizations, and some of the largest competitors are located in California. This is due to the fact that funding for treatment programs has been in place there for over 5 decades, prior to the insurance mandates that were later put into place.

schedule

Welcome Reception
April 17, 2023
Day 1
April 18, 2023
Day 2
April 19, 2023
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Hampton Court

Welcome Reception

Meet fellow attendees while enjoying your favorite beverage. The event will focus on creating meaningful connections in small groups to facilitate networking and learning.

Sponsored by SimiTree

8:00 am - 8:30 am
Marble Terrace

Coffee with Sponsors

Wake up with fresh coffee, smoothies and light breakfast treats with our sponsors!

Note: a full breakfast for Summit attendees staying at The London Hotel is included at The Boxwood Restaurant.

8:30 am - 8:45 am
Kensington Ballroom

Welcome & Introductory Remarks

Headshot-Sara-Litvak-bw
Sara Litvak
CEO, Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

Sara Litvak, Behavioral Health Center of Excellence CEO and Co-Founder of the Autism Investor Summit, welcomes everyone to the 2023 Autism Investor Summit!

8:45 am - 9:30 am
Kensington Ballroom

Keynote: Dexter Braff

Dexter Braff

Autism Mergers and Acquisitions: A Market in Flux

Speaker: Dexter Braff, The Braff Group

Based upon proprietary data collected and analyzed by The Braff Group, one could argue that the boom in autism services M&A officially began around 2015 when a few earlier investments in the space began to catch the attention of other private equity sponsors. That year, PE accounted for 8 transactions, three of which were market-entry platform deals. By 2019, that number had swelled to 43 transactions including an extraordinary 17 platform investments. A pandemic, a shortage of caregivers, payor scrutiny, and a few high-profile stumbles later, autism M&A is a market in flux. And that’s before we consider macro market factors including high inflation, a slowing economy, rising interest rates, and unrest in eastern Europe. To be sure, buyers are still buying, but there is caution in the air. High multiples can still be found, but they are not as de facto as they once were. In this session, we will examine how the autism M&A market has changed, where it is today, and where it is likely headed.

9:30 am - 10:30 am
Kensington Ballroom

Session 2: A Conversation with Love on the Spectrum Cast on Hearing Autistic Voices

Dani Bowman

Speaker: Dani Bowman, Danimation. Additional cast members to be announced.

10:30 am - 10:45 am
Albert Foyer

Break

Sponsored by Waller Law

Session 3A: Storytellers

Rajashree Balasubramanian
Doreen Samelson
Rob Nicolai
Lori Ann Dotson

Stories:

  • Better Outcomes, Better Business, Lori Ann Dotson, Senior Director of Strategic Vision and Innovation, Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Data Analytics as a Critical Component of Operations Management, Rob Nicolai, Chief Strategy Officer, Autism Behavioral Institute, LLC
  • It's Not Just About Goal Attainment: WellBeing as an Outcome Measure, Doreen Samelson, Chief Clinical Officer , Catalight Foundation
  • Journey of an Autism Company in the Middle East, Rajashree Balasubramanian, Behaviour Enrichment, Dubai
10:45 am - 11:30 am
Kensington Ballroom

Session 3B: Autism Care Trends Amid Uncertain Economic Conditions and Industry Constraints

Chris Sullens

Speaker: Chris Sullens, Central Reach

Even with unprecedented pressures such as a global pandemic and the Great Resignation, the ABA industry has continued to experience rapid growth with no signs of slowing down. In 2022, providers saw a 39% year-over-year increase in the demand for autism services and a 21% year-over-year increase in services billed. Will the ABA industry remain resilient in 2023 with uncertain economic conditions and continued industry constraints ahead?

Based on a dataset of nearly 1,000+ ABA providers, Chris Sullens, CEO of CentralReach, will deep dive into the factors impacting the industry at a macro level and how providers, and their clients are responding to those pressures. Sullens will discuss the:

- Outlook on growth in the demand for autism services
- Evolution of care delivery and the settings where care is provided
- Trends in service composition and which providers are seeing the most growth
- And, more.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Screening Room

Session 4A: Digital Health Start-Ups for Autism Treatment: Challenges and Opportunities

Oliver Wendt, PhD.

Speaker: Oliver Wendt, PhD, Director of the Potsdam Augmentative and Alternative Communication Research Lab, Associate Professor and Chair in Cognitive and Emotional Disabilities at the University of Potsdam, Germany

This session will focus on the technology transfer process of bringing innovations in digital health from the research lab to the autism market. The last decade has seen an explosion of new technologies aimed at assessing and improving behavioral and health related outcomes in the autism population. Examples include Mobile device applications (“apps”) to aid communication, social media platforms that can help connect to caregivers, health or medical services, or eye tracking technology to identify and monitor gaze responses. Many of these inventions originate in university-based autism research labs and follow the current trend in research-based entrepreneurship. This session will start with an overview on the market for digital health innovations in autism which includes about 5M affected families nation-wide and 85M world-wide. The market is highly segmented into caregivers, clinics, educational institutions, professional societies, state advocacies, and support groups. A multi-faceted marketing and sales strategy is necessary to penetrate these tightly knit communities. The session will discuss business model options based on securing insurance funding, subscription versus in-app and one-time purchases, and site licenses for large networks. Fundraising strategies to support university start-up creation will be compared including non-dilutive federal funding through Small Business Research Innovation grants or autism foundations versus traditional angel investment and/or venture capital funding.

Dr. Wendt will speak from his experience as a research entrepreneur and former chief science officer of a technology start-up; he is currently not associated with any commercial entity but serves as an advisor to two autism software companies.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Kensington Ballroom

Session 4B: Building a Winning Strategy for New Market Expansion and Growth (and lessons learned along the way!)

Dennis May
Rick Loewenstein

Moderator: Rick Loewenstein, CEO, TeamGame Advisors

Panelists:

  • Dennis May, CEO, Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers
  • Outstanding clinical quality, leadership, and clear communication are key factors to building a successful ABA practice. Leveraging those qualities with a strategic, operational-focused growth initiative will ensure expansion plans are executed with success and become the lifeblood of an organization.

    This presentation will explore various operational growth strategies that can be standardized and replicated. It will explore the de novo vs. acquisition discussion, how to build a winning implementation team, and ways to develop internal capacity to meet your growth goals. And it will provide attendees an opportunity to hear about some lessons learned along the way!

    The following topics will be discussed;
    1. The importance of clinical quality
    2. Types of growth
    a. Internal (service lines)
    b. External (geography)
    3. De novo vs. acquisition
    4. Center-based v. Home-based v. School-based
    5. Site location, size, and hours of operations options
    6. Referral partner outreach and collaboration strategies
    7. Operational readiness

    Clearly defining organizational goals and executing on expansion plans are the cornerstone of building a winning ABA organization.

    12:00 pm - 5:30 pm
    TBD

    "Speed Dating" — One-on-One Meetings with Investment Bankers

    *Must be registered for speed-dating in advance of the Summit. Onsite appointments are not available.

    Sponsored by Intrepid

    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
    Hampton Court

    Lunch Break

    1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
    Kensington Ballroom

    Session 5

    TBD

    Session 6A: Raising Capital: Options for Self-Financing

    Kris Gochenour
    Brett DiNovi, BCBA
    Patrick Bunt
    Yvonne Bruinsma, Ph.D., BCBC-D
    Dr. Ronit Molko

    Moderator: Dr. Ronit Molko, RonitMolko.com

    Panelists:

    • Patrick Bunt, MeBe
    • Brett DiNovi, BDA
    • Yvonne Bruinsima, In STEPPS
    • Kris Gochenour, CFO, Verbal Beginnings
    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Kensington Ballroom

    Session 6B: Using Clinical Standards, Data & Technology to Drive Better Outcomes

    Mike Miller

    Speaker: Mike Miller, CEO, Caravel Autism Health

    Clinical excellence is at the heart of autism treatment and organizations continue to strive to achieve the best outcomes for clients served. This presentation will provide an overview of how an Outcomes Platform founded upon a quality improvement framework can be used to drive the delivery of quality care and best outcomes. Clinical standards and a clinician centered approach served as the foundation for the development of leading and lagging indicators of quality care. Using cloud-based data collection that can be evaluated using advanced analytics and machine learning, the outcomes platform provides visibility into ‘near-real-time’ clinical KPIs, access to program recommendations via Artificial Intelligence algorithms with objective to improve care quality and allow for more responsive treatment. Data Insights are provided that enhance the clinician’s ability to differentiate learning styles and design the most effective treatment package. The impact the development of quality framework and outcomes platform has had on the delivery quality care will be discussed.

    3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Kensington Ballroom

    Session 7A: Evolving Payment Models: The Role of Self-Insured Employers in the Future of ABA

    Rob Paczkowski
    Ling Shao
    Melissa Reilly
    Justin Funches

    Moderator: Ling Shao, CEO, SpectrumAi

    Panelists:

    • Justin Funches, President, LEARN Behavioral Health
    • Melissa Reilly, Chief Growth Officer, Evernorth
    • Rob Paczkowski, Senior Director, Global Benefits, eBay

    The ABA industry’s explosive growth and change in funding sources has been a wild ride during the last two decades. While a large opportunity still exists to penetrate untapped markets for commercial, Medicaid and TRICARE reimbursement, ABA providers should familiarize themselves with another new funding source: self-insured employers.

    Over the last 20 years, ABA went from cottage- to mainstream behavioral health specialty, as school district and private pay funding gave way to commercial insurance reimbursement. During that same period, self-insured employers have driven many of the breakthrough innovations in healthcare benefits. The reasons are simple: 1) employers are the ultimate payors for most Americans, and, 2) self-insured employers are less-encumbered by regulations that govern benefit offerings, structure, payment and steerage than insurance companies can offer to their fully-insured membership. As such, large, brand-name self-insured employers have catalyzed adoption of significant innovations like price transparency, centers of excellence, value-based purchasing, narrow networks, telehealth and expansion of behavioral health benefits.

    A highly-expert panel will discuss how employers and payors work with service providers to find solutions to employees’ evolving needs to attract and retain talent, the role insurance companies play in broad adoption, and how market leaders should think about delivering employer-based ABA solutions.

    3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Screening Room

    Session 7B: Healthcare Transaction Deal Killers: How to Avoid Them

    Rachel Boynton

    Speaker: Rachel Boynton, Vertess

    Although there are always situations where deals fall apart, there are those potential deal killers that can be avoided. This discussion will make references to the diligence process as well.

    These include:
    - Knowing your P&L and financial landscape. Offers are made based on financial numbers that are sometimes incorrect or misrepresented. There are steps to take to clean up your financial picture and to help improve the likelihood of a close.
    - Find strong and knowledgeable representation – Lawyers with M&A experience and regulatory knowledge is key, while an M&A advisor and an accountant/tax advisor can also be very helpful. A bad lawyer can cost not only time and a lot of money, but bad advice can kill a deal.
    - Be completely truthful and honest from the beginning of the discussions because any skeletons you might have will be found during diligence.
    - Recruit a trusted and discrete team member to help with diligence, as it’s time consuming and involved
    - Commit to the process- diligence is painstaking. But taking too long to get this done can kill a deal. A seller needs to keep their eye on the daily operations while getting the diligence done.
    - Chose your buyers (don’t let them choose you) since a cultural fit is as important as the purchase price

    Takeaways from this session include:
    - Understanding your financials and their importance to the deal.
    - Knowing what the deal process is like and how important the diligence piece is.
    - Successful completion involves a team of knowledgeable people - from inside and outside your organization.

    4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
    Marble Terrace

    Break

    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Rooftop Pool Deck

    Networking Reception

    Sponsored by Ziegler

    8:30 am - 8:45 am
    Kensington Ballroom

    Opening Remarks

    Headshot-Sara-Litvak-bw
    Sara Litvak
    CEO, Behavioral Health Center of Excellence
    8:45 am - 9:30 am
    Kensington Ballroom

    Keynote Speaker: Allison Kluger

    Allison Kluger

    Speaker: Allison Kluger, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

    Reputations Rules! Our reputations are defined not by who WE think we are, but how other people perceive us. In business and in your personal lives, a strong and positive reputation can be like currency. A strong reputation will open doors for you, create lasting bonds, and present valuable opportunities. In today's seminar we will discuss how to repair a damaged reputation, how to make a great first impression, what to be aware of your online reputation, and strategies to curate and maintain a positive working reputation among your colleagues and clients. Also covered will be topics that explore personal, team and corporate reputation. The good news is that no one is stuck in a reputation they don't want. Reputation is on a continuum, and we are the masters of our reputation destiny.

    9:30 am - 10:30 am
    Kensington Ballroom

    Session 2: Advancing Whole-Child Value-Based Autism Care

    Mark Mintz
    Jia Jia Ye
    Neil Hattangadi
    Kathleen Stengel, MS, BCBA, LBA
    Chief Executive Officer, NeurAbilities Healthcare

    Moderator: Kathleen Stengel, CEO, NeurAbilities Healthcare

    Panelists:

    • Neil Hattangadi, Co-Founder & CEO, Cortica
    • Jia Jia Yes, Founder & CEO, Springtide Child Development
    • Mark Mintz, Pediatric Neurologist, Chief Medical Officer, Founder, NeurAbilities Healthcare
    10:45 am - 11:30 am
    Kensington Ballroom

    Session 3A: Brand Development, Design and Culture

    Tara DeVeaux
    Oliver Walsh
    Ian Schatzberg
    Peter Knell

    Moderator: Peter Knell, CMO, Raven Health

    Panelists:

    • Ian Schatzberg, Founder & Partner, General Idea Group
    • Oliver Walsh, Founder & CEO, ASYSTEM
    • Tara Devaux, EVP & CMO, Wild Card

    In the current landscape of ABA all you have to do is scroll through social media sites like LinkedIn to see countless posts, videos and articles criticizing various aspects of the field. The criticism can range from PE involvement, sudden closures of offices, high levels of staff turnover, and even the therapy itself. The message is loud and clear, the current national image of ABA is tarnished. During this panel, our expert speakers will explore and discuss the value of brand development and its importance to build community, authenticity (both internal and external), and employee loyalty/ retention. The diverse panel comes from outside the ABA industry with backgrounds in helping companies speak to their audiences through a personal connection. Applying this mindset and skillset to the work in the ABA industry can be effective in driving greater positive impact for the industry no matter the issue or the size of the organization. The panel will lay out methods the audience can adopt to help their agencies with bringing outsiders in and improving their outward message. The success they have had with other industries can have practical applications in behavioral health. The presentation will be brought to life with meaningful examples both visually and through an engaging conversation around relevant topics that incorporate inclusiveness, community development practices, corporate culture growth and navigating retention through brand.

    10:45 am - 11:30 am
    Screening Room

    Session 3B: The Next Era is Here for Investment and Innovation in the Autism Space

    Moderator: Rob Sarrazin, Chief Investment Officer, AIF

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Kensington Ballroom

    Session 4A: Fast Pitch Session

    Jon Stout

    Startups will pitch their Autism Innovation Idea with Celebrity Judges

    Judges:
    Jon Stout, Optum Ventures
    Christopher Male, Autism Impact Fund
    Other judges to be announced.

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Screening Room

    Session 4B: Negotiating Reimbursement Rates: Changing the Payor-Provider Narrative from Transactional to Relational

    Jonathan Mueller
    Rick Loewenstein

    Co-Presenters: Jonathan Mueller, Ascend Behavior Partners, Element RCM and Rick Loewenstein, TeamGame Advisors

    Want to negotiate better reimbursement rates? Learn best practices focused on identifying the right Payor contact, understanding Payor policies around rate increases, how to collect and provide data to justify your requested increase, benchmarking, and more.

    It all starts with investing in the Payor relationship, then building a strong Payor Relations Platform. This disciplined approach impacts almost every department of your autism therapy practice and is often the most overlooked. Whether it’s rate negotiation contracting, credentialing, VBC, APMs, clinical excellence, accounts receivable, growth, or just creating open lines of communication, developing a rock-solid working relationship with your Payors is imperative to growth and success.

    12:30 pm - 12:45 pm
    Pacific Time

    Adjourn

    Sponsorship

    2023 Sponsorships are Now on Sale

    This event provides a unique opportunity for autism service providers and investors to meet in a private setting to discuss the autism services landscape, understand best practices for service delivery and clinical outcomes, and explore opportunities for investments in autism services.

    Learn more about opportunities on our Sponsors page and download our Sponsorship Opportunities prospectus.

    Become a Sponsor

    Get our 2023 sponsorship opportunities prospectus

    2023 Sponsors Include

    Partner

    Partner

    Platinum

    Platinum

    Silver

    Silver

    See all of this year’s Summit Sponsors, helping to lead the conversation about best practices and innovation in all areas of autism services.

    PRICING

    Privately Owned Service Provider

    $ 795
    •  

    • Space is Limited

    Investor / Investor-Backed Service Provider / Other Industry Professional

    $ 1,695
    •  

    • Space is Limited

    Have questions about the event or registration options? See our FAQs or get in touch.

    When

    April 17–20, 2023

    Where

    The London Hotel
    1020 N San Vicente Blvd
    West Hollywood, CA 90069

    Who

    ABA Providers
    Payors
    Investors
    Other Industry Professionals