ASHA Lauds CMS Action to Expand Medicare Coverage of Telehealth Services for Needed Speech/Language, Swallowing and Hearing Services

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Medicare Beneficiaries Stand to Benefit From Growing Telehealth Options During Public Health Emergency

This decision will allow [seniors] to obtain needed critical healthcare services in a way that is more accessible and safer.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) today commends the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its decision to increase Medicare beneficiaries’ access to key audiology and speech-language pathology services via telehealth—a move that will allow America’s seniors to more safely connect with needed care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, CMS will now include an additional 24 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to its list of temporarily authorized Medicare telehealth services for the duration of the national public health emergency, which is expected to last through the end of 2021 at a minimum.

Issued March 30th, the updated list of codes substantially expands the range of Medicare reimbursable telehealth services from audiologists and speech-language pathologists. They include diagnosis and treatment of swallowing problems; therapeutic interventions for improving cognitive function; assessment for speech-generating devices; and audiometric testing, among others.

“We applaud this week’s action by CMS,” said A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP, 2021 ASHA President. “Ever since the pandemic began, ASHA has advocated for additional telehealth services to ensure patient access to medically necessary care and to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among seniors—individuals particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus. This decision will allow them to obtain needed critical healthcare services in a way that is more accessible and safer.”

For more information, and a full list of the new codes and services, visit ASHA’s telehealth resources page on its website.

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About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders. http://www.asha.org/

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Francine Pierson
ASHA
301-296-8715
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