With the implementation of RCS-1 expected in October 2018, your Skilled Nursing Facility’s speech therapy department has gone from important to essential.

Does your skilled nursing facility have a great SNF speech therapy department? Speech-Language Pathologists need to have two essential attributes: expert communicators and expert clinicians.

Speech-language pathologists for SNFs need to be expert communicators and expert clinicians in your speech therapy department. We will go over this in detail below.

SNF Speech Therapy Department – Expert Communicators Needed

Expert Communicators: Well…. It’s right in the title. Speech-Language Pathologists for SNFs need to be effective communicators. SLPs need to be able to effectively communicate with nursing staff about diet recommendations and postural changes or compensatory strategies that need to be implemented to ensure safe swallow function.

Speech therapy also needs to communicate with dietary and kitchen staff regarding diet changes. These communications need to be clear & effective to ensure the correct diets are conveyed in a timely fashion. Conversations with physicians are crucial to receiving timely orders for evaluations and treatments for functional speech therapy in SNF.

Communication with the MDS coordinators will be more critical than ever as it relates to reimbursement with the implementation of RCS-1. Timely and effective communication with the MDS staff ensures that the coding of the MDS reflects an accurate picture of the resident and ensures the proper reimbursement for the facility. Now that speech will have its own category in October 2018 under RCS-1, the positive impact of Speech involvement on reimbursement can be as high as $100 per day!

Speech Therapy Department

At Language Fundamentals, we teach our speech therapists to document their work as if each medical record will be scrutinized by a governmental auditor. As clinicians, we instinctively want to help people. Being in the trenches and working to make people better is hard-wired in the makeup of a great nursing home speech therapist. Documentation ensures that the clinician and the facility receive credit for that work and protect that hard-earned revenue after an audit.

SNF Speech Therapy Department- Expert Clinicians Required

Expert Clinicians: Not all clinicians have the same skill set. The job of an SLP in a Skilled Nursing Facility is to treat a wide range of patients that require speech, language cognitive, and swallowing testing and treatment. After SLPs schooling with a degree in Communication Disorders and after a 9-month residency, they earn the Certificate of Clinical Competence, CCCs.

Depending on the state, they can receive their license to practice at the same time. Clinicians with 10 years of experience working in a school setting can turn around and apply for a job in a SNF. Highly trained, highly motivated clinicians with a passion for gerontology are the best fit for a SNF.

At Language Fundamentals, we are fortunate. As clinicians and business owners, we wear our passions on our sleeves. Young SLPs want to work with us to gain experience and critical skills that are necessary to function as expert speech therapists in our field.

Additionally, rather than being the lone Speech Therapist at one facility, joining a network of SLPs brings the voice and information of a hundred clinicians to the task and aid one another with complex cases and other unique experiences.


Instrumental exams such as flexible endoscopic evaluation of the swallow (FEES) provide valuable and timely feedback when assessing residents. It is the best tool for considering diet upgrade or ruling out aspiration and the risk of aspiration pneumonia. SLPs who are highly proficient in performing FEES on-site, provide added value to the SNF. It saves significant expense especially the time & effort of sending residents out of the building.

Rather than the SNF purchase the FEES equipment, mobile FEES is typically the way to go. It is much more cost-effective. Language Fundamentals provides potential clients with valuable insight in determining a potential Return on Investment.

The Ideal Speech Language Pathologists

In conclusion, the best way to know if your skilled nursing facility has a great SNF speech therapy department is by evaluating your speech language pathologists. Make sure your speech language pathologists in your SNF have expert communication skills and expert clinical skills.

If your SNF has questions about Speech Department operations, FEES testing, or Rehab, feel free to drop me a line in the comment field below or contact us today.