Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) services are individually designed and are provided to waiver participants who have significant behavioral difficulties that jeopardize their ability to remain in the community of choice due to inappropriate responses to events in their environment. The PBIS should be provided in the situation where the significant maladaptive behavior occurs.

PBIS services include but are not limited to:

  • A comprehensive assessment of the individual's behavior (in the context of their medical diagnosis and disease progression as determined by the appropriate health or mental health professional), skills and abilities, existing and potential natural and paid supports and the environment;
  • The development and implementation of a holistic structured behavioral treatment plan (Detailed Plan) including specific realistic goals which can also be utilized by other providers and natural supports;
  • The training of family, natural supports and other providers so they can effectively use the basic principles of the behavioral plan;
  • Regular reassessments of the effectiveness of the behavioral treatment plan, making adjustments to the plan as needed.

The primary focus of the Detailed Plan for this service is to decrease the intensity and/or frequency of the targeted behaviors and to teach safer or more socially appropriate behaviors. None of these activities shall fall within the scope of the practice of mental health counseling set forth in Article 163 of the NYS Education Law.

The Detailed Plan must include a clear description of successive levels of intervention starting with the simplest and least intrusive level. All plans must be written in a manner so that all natural and paid supports will be able to follow the plan.

An emergency intervention plan is warranted when there is the possibility of the waiver participant becoming a threat to him or herself or others.

Provider Qualifications for Director of the Positive Behavioral Interventions Support Program

PBIS services may be provided by any not-for-profit or for profit health and human services agency. The two key positions in PBIS service are the Program Director and the Behavioral Specialist. Each PBIS provider must employ a Program Director.

The Program Director is responsible for assessing the waiver participant and developing the PBIS plan for each waiver participant. The Director may work as a Behavioral Specialist or may provide ongoing supervision to a Behavioral Specialist who will implement the plan.

If a provider has more than one individual who meets the qualifications for Program Director, each of these qualified individuals can develop PBIS plans.

The Program Director must be a:

  1. Licensed psychiatrist licensed by the NYS Education Department with one year experience providing behavioral services; OR
  2. Licensed psychologist licensed by the NYS Education Department with one year experience in providing behavioral services; OR
    1. Master of Social Work;
    2. Master of Psychology;
    3. Registered Occupational Therapist - Licensed by the NYS Education Department;
    4. Registered Physical Therapist - Licensed by the NYS Education
    5. Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist - Licensed by the NYS
    6. Registered Professional Nurse - Licensed by the NYS Education Department;
    7. Mental Health Practitioner - Licensed by the NYS Education
    8. Certified Rehabilitation Counselor - Certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification; or
    9. Certified Special Education Teacher - Certified by the NYS Education Department.

    Each of the individuals in (C) must have, at a minimum, two years of experience providing neurobehavioral services; or

  3. Individual who has been a Behavioral Specialist for two years and has successfully completed an apprenticeship program offered by the Statewide Neurobehavioral Resource Project.

Provider Qualifications for Behavioral Specialists

The Behavioral Specialist is responsible for implementation of the Detailed Plan under the direction of the Program Director and must be a:

  1. Person with a Bachelor's Degree;
  2. Licensed Practical Nurse licensed by the NYS Education Department;
  3. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, certified by the NYS Education Department; or
  4. Physical Therapy Assistant, certified by the NYS Education Department.

The Behavioral Specialist must have at least one year of experience working with individuals and/or seniors with disabilities or behavioral difficulties. The Behavioral Specialist must successfully complete forty (40) hours training in behavioral analysis, and crisis intervention techniques which is provided by the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Program. Until the Behavioral Specialist successfully completes the forty (40) hours of training, the PBIS provider may not bill for the Behavioral Specialist's time. The Behavioral Specialist must be supervised by the Program Director. The Program Director will provide ongoing training and supervision to the Behavioral Specialist.

Supervision must occur no less than biweekly to review the caseload and must be more frequent when there is a new participant, new provider or when significant behavioral issues arise.


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports services must be provided by a DOH approved provider and must be included in the SP to be reimbursed.

This service is reimbursed on an hourly basis. Participation in Team Meetings is reimbursed according to the hourly rate for this service.