Positive Outcomes for Speech Telepractice as Evidence for Reimbursement Policy Change Oklahoma has a large population living in rural areas where it is difficult to fill school speech-language pathologist (SLP) positions. To meet this need, telepractice has been used in rural Oklahoma school districts since 1999. Medicaid policies have allowed schools to receive reimbursement for speech therapy provided by onsite therapists; ... Article
Article  |   April 25, 2016
Positive Outcomes for Speech Telepractice as Evidence for Reimbursement Policy Change
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lori Short
    INTEGRIS eHealth, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Tiffany Rea
    INTEGRIS eHealth, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Beki Houston
    INTEGRIS eHealth, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Sonya Scott
    INTEGRIS eHealth, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Pamela Forducey
    INTEGRIS eHealth, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: The authors have no financial interests related to the content of this article.
    Financial: The authors have no financial interests related to the content of this article.×
  • Nonfinancial: The authors have no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article.
    Nonfinancial: The authors have no nonfinancial interests related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / School-Based Settings / Practice Management / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / Part 1
Article   |   April 25, 2016
Positive Outcomes for Speech Telepractice as Evidence for Reimbursement Policy Change
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, April 2016, Vol. 1, 3-11. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG18.3
History: Received April 14, 2015 , Revised June 9, 2015 , Accepted June 26, 2015
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, April 2016, Vol. 1, 3-11. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG18.3
History: Received April 14, 2015; Revised June 9, 2015; Accepted June 26, 2015

Oklahoma has a large population living in rural areas where it is difficult to fill school speech-language pathologist (SLP) positions. To meet this need, telepractice has been used in rural Oklahoma school districts since 1999. Medicaid policies have allowed schools to receive reimbursement for speech therapy provided by onsite therapists; however, reimbursement for speech telepractice was excluded. The current project measured the effectiveness of a speech telepractice program so this policy could be revised. Speech and language skills of 578 children, grades PreK–12, were followed over one of two school years and were rated using Functional Communication Measures (FCM) established by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). Our data show that 67–87% of the children advanced by one or more levels on three common FCM scales. These changes are similar to, or greater than, what was reported in a large sample of students compiled by ASHA's National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) with clinicians who worked onsite in schools. Average weekly treatment time was also less in our teletherapy practice than what was reported in the reference database. Therefore, the current study demonstrates that speech telepractice is an effective and efficient method of delivery for the school age population.

Acknowledgements
The authors thank the speech telepractice students, para-professionals, and school administrators from the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 academic years from participating Oklahoma public schools in Cottonwood, Felt, Forgan, Guymon, Haywood, Keyes, Tyrone, Vinita, and Wyandotte.
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