As Skilled Nursing Facilities brace for the implementation of PDPM on October 1, 2019, industry experts are closely examining the new SLP Category.  Speech Therapy has historically taken a back seat to PT & OT in Rehab. However, there are a host of signs indicating that approach a new approach under PDPM will be necessary.  Is Speech the new “Boss?”  Well maybe not quite, but don’t be surprised if your SNF has some adjustments to make.

So where should SNF Operators begin to ensure their Speech Therapy Department is ready?

  1. Recognize that your SNF operates a Speech Department versus having a speech therapist that is “part of rehab.”  See the difference?  This includes your per-diems and part-timers, too.  Speech is now one of 5 case-mix adjusted components under PDPM (Speech Language Pathology, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy & Non-Therapy Ancillaries) that are separately calculated and unique categories under PDPM. 
  2. A great Speech Department is intricately involved in all diet issues.  Great SLPs are always looking to help patients reach the least restrictive yet safest diet possible. Attempting to code dysphagia upon admission without the documentation of an SLP will likely be a red flag.
  3. The Speech Department should play a role in assessing cognition. SLPs are highly trained in assessing & treating cognitive communicative deficits.
  4. Having a Speech Therapy Department that understands the SLP-related comorbidities will be critical to capturing reimbursement.  With the widespread of dollars from the lowest (SA – $15.86) to the highest (SL $92.81), the SLP Component will heavily influence the Medicare rate under PDPM.

Do you have questions or need a helping hand?  We’d be glad to assist you in having the best speech therapy department around.