Research Bite - Telepractice in Rural Oklahoma Schools
December 2, 2016
Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP
One of the biggest challenges facing the wide-spread adoption of online speech therapy (or telepractice, as it's called in the biz) in the United States is the lack of reimbursement by Medicaid and private insurers.We're consistently re-assured that "it's coming," but it's an area of tremendous and ongoing frustration for those of us engaged in this exciting field.
We applaud our colleagues in Oklahoma who recently conducted a study aimed at building their case for Medicaid reimbursement for telepractice. They looked at the efficacy of online speech therapy as a treatment modality for 578 students in rural schools in their state using ASHA Functional Communication Measures assessments. Online speech therapy was at least as effective as in-person therapy for the students they assessed, and it resulted in less time out of class for therapy. We hope their study is noted by the powers that be and that this is a meaningful step towards reimbursement for online speech therapy!