Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are often called upon to treat patients who are having difficulty with speech or language. These difficulties may be the result of a stroke or head injury, or may have other causes, but this is not something that SLPs can diagnose. Any patient who has experienced a serious illness or injury needs to be evaluated by a physician.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on Medicare guidelines for speech therapy documentation. You will find information about what you should include in your notes and how often you should submit them to Medicare.
Reimbursement for speech-language pathology services requires adequate documentation. Medicare regulations stipulate that a speech-language pathologist must document the patient’s functional status, behavioral observations, and the results of standardized and non-standardized testing (including but not limited to: descriptions of tests administered, test subdomain scores, test dates, and test norms) in order to receive reimbursement.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and others who provide speech therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. The information contained in this document applies only to outpatient speech therapy services provided in private practice settings or by independent practitioners. It does not apply to outpatient speech therapy services provided by hospital outpatient departments, skilled nursing facilities, or other institutional providers. Additionally, Medicare coverage of speech therapy services is limited to recipients who have been evaluated and determined by a physician or qualified non-physician professional (NPP) to have a speech or language disorder and a medical need for therapeutic interventions.
Speech therapy is aimed at addressing the underlying causes of communication disorders in order to improve an individual’s ability to communicate with their environment—verbally and nonverbally—in order to improve their quality of life. Speech therapists often work with people with developmental disabilities like autism, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, and cerebral palsy; people who have had strokes; people with Parkinson’s disease; cancer patients; and people with hearing loss. They also sometimes work with patients who are recovering from surgery or traumatic brain injuries. Speech therapists often help children overcome developmental delays in speaking,
The Medicare guidelines for speech therapy documentation are outlined in the Federal Register. These guidelines were established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that patients receive the treatment they need, and that providers are able to bill Medicare accordingly.
Procedure codes for speech therapy include any services provided to a patient related to speech, language, cognitive function, swallowing disorders, or communication impairments. These services can be provided by a licensed therapist, audiologist, psychologist, or physician. They can also be provided by an assistant under the direction of a qualified therapist. These services are covered by Medicare Part B when they are medically necessary, and they follow the guidelines outlined in the Federal Register. Documentation is required for any treatment given to patients who have one of these issues. Documentation must include all dates of service as well as any information regarding the patient’s medical condition and how it relates to their ability to communicate with others. The documentation should also include how the treatment was delivered and how it helped improve the patient’s ability to communicate and interact with other people. It is important that these documents are properly maintained so that there is no confusion about which treatments were given on which dates or how they affected the patient’s health over time.