Speech-Language Equivalency – Closed in December 2011

Summary

In California, speech-language equivalency refers to an opinion issued by the state Attorney General in 2006 acknowledging that certain types of credentialed speech language pathologists (SLPs) were equivalent to the federal standard for speech pathologists, and the efforts made to incorporate this equivalency by removing restrictive billing requirements on credentialed SLPs participating in the LEA Billing Option program.

Issue Analysis

Following the passage of AB 2837 in 2006, a bill which established new educational and work requirements for preliminary and professional clear speech-language pathology (SLP) credentials in California, an opinion was issued by the California Attorney General making clear that the credentialing requirements for SLPs with preliminary or professional clear services credentials (as defined by Education Code Section 44265.3) are equivalent to the federal credentialing standards and requirements for the purpose of claiming Medicaid reimbursements.

On the heels of this announcement, DHCS and the LEA Ad-Hoc Workgroup began working to incorporate the ruling into a state plan amendment (SPA), which would establish equivalency and remove the supervision restrictions on credentialed SLPs billing for services under the LEA Billing program in California.

DHCS received the long-awaited approval for SPA 05-010 in December 2011. This amendment to California’s State Plan incorporates equivalency for preliminary or professional credentialed SLPs as “speech pathologist” under the federal standard. As such, CMS has approved the removal of supervision requirements for provision of services by preliminary or professional clear credentialed SLPs under the LEA Billing program, a big step in the efforts of DHCS and the LEA Ad-Hoc Workgroup to enhance LEA Billing program benefits.

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