Telehealth Speech Therapy Services Billable for California LEAs Starting June 2016

DHCS has published a policy and procedure letter (PPL) announcing the forthcoming implementation of telehealth for speech therapy services as billable under the LEA Medi-Cal Billing Option Program.

Beginning on June 1, 2016, LEAs participating in the program will be able to bill for speech therapy assessment and treatment services delivered via telemedicine when provided to Medi-Cal beneficiaries with an IEP or IFSP.

PPL 15-024 includes technical and system requirements that must be met in order to bill telehealth speech therapy services. It also specifies that the provider performing the services via telemedicine must be a California licensed Speech-Language practitioner and/or a credentialed Speech-Language Pathologist as defined in the LEA Billing Provider Manual. This is an important notation for LEAs contracting with national companies to provide telehealth speech services to their students.

This new policy will have a particular impact for small and rural school districts who struggle with issues of demographic and financial access to specialty providers.

It is not yet known whether this policy will be expanded to included speech therapy services provided via telemedicine to the general student population (for those without an IEP or IFSP) following the roll-out of billing for formerly free care services which is anticipated following the approval of State Plan Amendment (SPA) 15-021.