Evaluating SNF Speech Therapy Service hasn’t always been near the top of many Administrator’s “to do” list. Historically, Speech Therapy has jokingly been referred to as the “red headed step-child” of rehab.  My apologies to our friends who just happen to have red hair.

With the advent of PDPM and the new role of Speech, owners and operators of Skilled Nursing Facilities are evaluating their speech therapy service delivery.  In order to do so properly, let’s ponder these important aspects:

1. Case Load – What is a typical case load for a speech therapist in a skilled nursing facility?  You’d be surprised how many owners and operators never considered this question. Maybe because finding speech is often challenging, they were happy just to have someone to care for the speech needs of the patients. SNFs now need expert insight over:

  • Typical speech case load size

  • Distribution of patient conditions on case load. Medical speech therapists should be highly proficient in treating patients with dysphagia, speech language deficits, and cognitive impairment, which are all common in skilled nursing facilities.

  • Differences in duration of treatment for short-term patients as well as and long-term patients.

A well-run speech department has enough speech therapists available that fits the size of the caseload, not a caseload that fits the amount of time the speech therapist has. See the difference?

2. Part B / Case Mix – Is the speech department doing a good job generating Part B revenue for your SNF on a monthly basis?  A great speech department should excel in caring for the long-term care population, where dysphagia and cognitive impairment is prevalent. Therefore, they should generate Part B revenue and for those in case mix states, make a meaningful contribution to CMI.

3. Backup and Coverage –   What happens when your “regular” SLP is sick, on leave, or on vacation?  Is it difficult to arrange coverage? Is it a royal pain? If you are lucky enough to have an SLP to help cover, is that person productive, efficient, and truly passionate about treating in a medical setting?  Bringing in a temp or a traveler can fill a need, but at a hefty price tag.

Want to take a deeper dive into these issues related to your SNF?  Our team here at Language Fundamentals offer a Speech Department Utilization Analysis and would be glad to perform one for you.  We’d be glad to help.

Message me directly or contact us anytime.