Do you know if speech therapy is truly making a positive impact on PDPM at your SNF?  It’s that time of year when we begin anticipating new Medicare rates as part of the FY 2024 Final Rule. Let’s go inside the numbers and look at how the speech language pathology component (SLP) can impact a typical overall PDPM daily rate.

A Skilled Nursing Facility’s PDPM daily rate is comprised of the following case-mix adjusted components:

  • Physical / Occupational Therapy (PT / OT)
  • Speech Language Pathology (SLP)
  • Nursing
  • Non-Therapy Ancillary (NTA)

All of which impact the SNF overall per diem PDPM rate once geography is factored in.   So how does the SLP Component Rate contribute?  While it is true that the SLP Component contributes a rather modest dollar amount compared to the others.  However, there is a great deal of variability in dollars from top to bottom. PDPM rewards the SNF with a speech therapy department that does an excellent job accurately capturing items such as altered diets, dysphagia, impaired cognition, and speech-related comorbidities.

Let’s look at a basic example:

Patient A is at a SNF near Hartford, CT. The patient is coded as non-neurologic and on a mechanically altered diet. The SB code provides an SLP component rate of $47.01 daily.

Meanwhile Patient B is at a different SNF also near Hartford, CT. There a similar patient is also diagnosed as non-neurologic.  The speech department accurately codes dysphagia and captures their mechanically altered diet. The SC code provides an SLP component rate of $69.05.  Nearly a $22 per day difference in the overall PDPM rate. That positively impacts each day of the patient’s stay.

These differences add up quickly.  Having a strong SNF speech therapy department that is savvy at capturing these little differences and making them add up. If your SNF is in a Medicaid case-mix state, a great speech therapy department should shine while treating long-term care patients.  It is typical to find long-term care patients with dysphagia and impaired cognition that can benefit from speech therapy services if the SLPs are willing to search for them.

If you’d like to improve the performance of your SNF speech therapy department, follow this link and learn how.

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