Performance Abstract.

Darren Schwartz: Centria

Centria Healthcare and Autism Services’  helps children and young adults with autism achieve their goals through the use of Autism Applied Behavior Analysis therapy (ABA), the single most effective treatment for those with autism, and the only one shown to make significant, long-lasting improvements.

The Challenge

The ABA market was and still is, very fragmented. There are very few national companies, even fewer in 2016, and most ABA companies are small clinician-led ventures. ABA therapy involves a board certified behavior analyst and a behavior technician. Both resources are in high demand; hard to recruit and retain. There is also a lengthy approval process for those resources by the payors (insurance companies who pay Centria for the client’s therapy). Because of this complexity, most clinician-led companies are not able to scale as they lack the bandwidth to build sales and operations teams. The biggest challenge I faced was to target demand and match it with supply, i.e., the clinical resources that were available. That was a constantly moving target.            

Additionally, there was not substantial awareness by the pediatric community or payors regarding differentiation between ABA companies. The challenge of establishing Centria as a market leader and provider of quality ABA services would produce significant market share if achieved.

My Role

Chief Sales Officer

I was hired to create and build out the Sales, Physician Outreach, Payor Relations and Intake teams and expand those functions nationally to create and meet client demand. 


The Work

To help establish Centria as a provider of quality ABA services, I worked on evaluating, training, and expanding multiple teams across the organization, establishing data standards and consistent reporting.


  • Evaluated the existing team, expanding and refining training and processes. Hired additional sales reps in eight states.
  • Revamped the compensation plan (three times) based on market landscape, and created a performance management plan. 

Sales Operations: 

  • Expanded the team, established critical performance and activity metrics, expanded and operationalized CRM software. 
  • Territory management was implemented, making it easier for sales reps to match their sales efforts with the company’s goals.
  • Capacity reporting and communication was developed to match demand with supply and communicate across business functions.

Payor Relations: 100 percent of revenue from ABA cases is paid by the payors (insurance companies). Maintaining and supporting those relationships are critical. 

  • Established data and case reporting, as well as monthly update meetings with the Directors of Autism services and their teams, which included more than 130 payors nationally.
  • Expanded the internal team and created a new compensation plan and performance management plan.

Intake Team

  • Established a new team to effectively service family inquiries (families that were referred to Centria from pediatricians or payors). I hired a director to then launch the team.
  • Built out data and metrics and corresponding scorecards. These were used to establish a process of intra-day, daily, weekly and monthly accountability. This gave us visibility into progress against targets and if strategies were or not working in a timely basis.
  • I hired 15 Intake reps and created training and onboarding plans as well as the compensation plan and performance management plan.
The Outcome

Overall, our teams significantly increased functionality and growth. Specifically, the Payor Relations team began to provide data and reporting to payors—which they had never seen before from any provider, and referrals from payors increased 200 percent. The number of pediatric offices that became referral sources established by the Sales team increased by 200 percent and referrals from pediatricians and family practice offices increased 400 percent. The Intake team increased conversion rates (from initial conversation from a family inquiry) by 30 percent. Total referrals generated by these increased by 400 percent.  The Sales Operations team created a cross-functional, 360-degree reporting and feedback process that resulted in metrics and reporting which provided detailed insight into supply and demand levers, and allowed for more accurate and timely supply and demand strategies. Overall, from 2016 until EOY 2019 case count increased by a whopping 566 percent. In December 2019, Centria was acquired by Thomas H. Lee for $400 million.

Active Case Growth

Solving customer and organizational problems and growing businesses is very rewarding. At Centria, the opportunity to do it and know the ultimate result of the work of my teams was that children with Autism were able to attain the life-changing therapy they need was a privilege I am profoundly thankful for, and a highlight of my career.

––Darren Schwartz, Chief Sales Officer