What is telemedicine/teletherapy?
The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) defines telepractice ( the act of providing Telehealth services) as "the application of telecommunications technology to delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation." This service delivery model is supported by the California licensing board, the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), and is payable by most insurance carriers per the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013- H.R.3306, 113th Congress and California Insurance Code 10123.85, Sections 2290.5 of the Business and Professions Code. Telepractice is viewed as a mode of delivery of health care services, not a separate form of practice. There are no legal prohibitions to using technology in the practice of speech language pathology, as long as, the practice is done by a California licensed practitioner. The standard of care is the same whether the patient is seen in-person, through telehealth (telepractice) or by other methods of electronically enabled health care.
Is teletherapy covered by Medicare?
Yes. Speech-language pathology services have been temporarily added to the list of covered services through Medicare Part B. This service is covered through December 2023.
If you do not have Medicare and desire to submit an invoice to your insurance provider, you will need to contact your insurance company to determine whether telemedicine is a covered service.
What do I need to participate in teletherapy?
You will need a device with a screen, a camera/microphone, and an internet connection. Ideally, this would be a computer, laptop, or large tablet. Teletherapy works best when both parties are in a quiet environment with a reliable internet connection. You are also welcome to have a caregiver or family member join the sessions to assist with any technology challenges. A family member or caregiver may be asked to be present for the evaluation to ensure the completion of all measures of the assessment.