Legislation in Action

Current Legislative/Regulatory Activity

60-Second Advocacy Update - Jan 2021

Screening and Intervention for Children with Dyslexia – HB436

Schools & Private Practice Practice Areas

In the first full week of January, 2021, Governor DeWine signed two bills that will directly affect school-based SLPs and Audiologists.

 
HB 436 (signed on January 9th) requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to create an Ohio Dyslexia Committee (ODC) to collaborate with ODE.  The Ohio Speech and Hearing Governmental Affairs Coalition (OSHGAC) advocated for an SLP to be a required member on the Ohio Dyslexia Committee as well as on the district/school levels multidisciplinary teams. The required team members on the district/school levels will be the decision of the ODC. Certification requirements will be developed jointly by the ODE and ODC. A Dyslexia Guidebook must be developed by the ODC by December 31, 2021.
 
Relevant points on the most recent amended copy of HB 436 include;
 
  • ODE and ODC will collaborate to maintain a list of approved courses that fulfill the professional development requirements for public school teachers.
  • Each approved course must align with the Dyslexia Guidebook, be evidence-based, and require instruction and training for identifying characteristics of dyslexia and understanding the pedagogy for instructing students with dyslexia.
  • The ODC must prescribe a total number of clock hours of instruction in ODE-approved courses that is between 6 and 18 hours, which teachers must complete to satisfy the bill’s professional development requirements.
  • The bill also requires that each school district, beginning in the 22/23 school year, to establish a multi-sensory structured literacy certification process for teachers employed by the district or school providing instruction in grades K-3. The certification process must align with the Dyslexia Guidebook.
School Professionals Pupil Services License

Audiology, Schools & Private Practice Practice Areas

In January, 2021, Governor DeWine signed HB442 which will also directly affect school-based SLPs and Audiologists.

The original focus of this bill was directed at Accounting CPA’s but the content expanded to cover licensure and certification redundancy. As a result, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Pupil Services License (PSL) was reviewed and resulted in wording eliminating the PSL due to concern of redundancy of requiring professionals to hold both state board license and ODE’s PSL.  The ODE gave opponent testimony expressing concern. Without PSL, ODE would have no way to be notified of criminal actions. Revised amendment: Calls for a “registration” with the ODE. Registration includes background check and fingerprinting.  Another amendment that was accepted specifically includes personnel registered with ODE under the definition of “teacher” in ORC 3307.01. The amendment also clarifies membership in the State Teachers Retirement System for registered personnel.   Many additional questions have been posed by OSHGAC and Ohio licensees. These questions have been given to ODE and responses are pending. However, OSLHA will be hosting a Connection’s Corner session allowing constituents to hear from our lobbyist on how this change arose and was reached by legislators.  Our event has reached maximum capacity but a recording of the event will be viewable exclusively for OSLHA members post-event.

OSLHA Advocacy Representatives

For more information or questions on legislative or advocacy issues, contact:

 

To call or write your legislator, go to: www.legislature.ohio.gov

2021 Medicare Payment Cuts

All Practice Areas
 
UPDATE:

New legislation passed in December 2020 will have an impact on the Medicare Plan B payment reductions expected to take effect on January 1st.  There was an increase of 3.75% applied through 2021, delay of implementation of the GPCX1 add on code, and a waiver of the 2% sequestration reduction for the first 3 months of 2021. The result is that anticipated reductions have been reduced but calculating the exact impact is still underway.  ASHA is working to compile information to better explain the additional changes and how they will impact SLPs and Auds. This information is expected to be published in an upcoming ASHA Headline.  However, unless Congress takes additional action before the end of 2021 the previously expected reductions will go back into place on January 1, 2022

A new bill to address proposed 2021 Medicare Part B cuts to reimbursement of audiology and speech-language pathology services was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 8702, the Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020, would help address these cuts by providing relief payments to audiologists and SLPs in an amount that will ensure parity with current payment for impacted services for the next two years until a longer-term solution is developed.

Retroactive Corrections Being Accepted for Unintentional CCI Edit that Prevented Same-Day Billing of Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study by SLPs and Radiologists

All Practice Areas

In a recent communication, CMS noted that corrections have been made to an unintentional edit that prevented same-day billing of 92611 and 74230.  We are pleased to report that with the reversal of the CCI edit, Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) and Radiologists will once again be appropriately reimbursed for each distinctly different portion of their professional collaboration during the videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS).  Billing adjustments will be retroactive to January 1, 2020, and the wording will be implemented as soon as technically possible in a future edit update!!

CMS further clarified that claims for same-day billing of 92611 and 74230 must include a modifier to note that the services are separate and distinct. This means that claims for VFSS should include 92611 first on the claim, as the “column 1” code, followed by 74230 with the modifier -59 (or subcategory modifiers) appended.  Additional information on the use of CCI-associated modifiers is available on ASHA’s website.

 


Effective January 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a new National Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) edit that prevents same-day billing of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT ® American Medical Association) codes 74230 (Radiologic examination, swallowing function, with cineradiography/videoradiography) and 92611 (Motion fluoroscopic evaluation of swallowing function by cine or video recording).

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) typically collaborate with radiologists to perform the videofluorscopic swallowing study (VFSS), also called the modified barium swallowing (MBS) study. CPT codes 74230 and 92611 describe the work required to identify the medical diagnosis by the radiologist (74230) and to evaluate swallowing function by the SLP (92611). With the new CCI edit in place, SLPs and radiologists will not be appropriately reimbursed for each distinctly different portion of their professional collaboration during the VFSS.

ASHA is engaging with CMS and the contractor that manages the NCCI program to resolve this issue. In the meantime, ASHA recommends providers continue to submit same-day claims for 92611 and 74230. Because the new CCI edit lists 92611 as the “column 1” code, it should be placed first on the claim, followed by 74230. This means that 92611 should be processed for payment, but 74230 will be denied. If CMS reverses the CCI edit, all claims submitted since January 1, 2020, can be reprocessed for payment of 74230.

Background

The NCCI (or more commonly, CCI) is an automated edit system to control specific procedure code pairs that can or cannot be reported on the same day. CMS developed the system for use in all Medicare Part B (outpatient) and Medicaid claims. See CCI Edits for Speech-Language Pathology Services for additional information on same-day billing restrictions.

ASHA NOMS Release Date Delayed

All Practice Areas
 
ASHA has been working hard to develop a new National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS), which they anticipated would be ready for launch by the end of this year. However, due to some delays the new NOMS is now scheduled to be released in 2020.  As part of the new launch, all clinicians will receive a user guide that will walk them through the updated data collection process and scoring guidelines for the new FCMs. However, clinicians will no longer need to pass a user registration test. Therefore, the new training will not be offered for ASHA CEUs. Because we anticipated the launch of NOMS at the end of the year, we did not renew the current NOMS trainings for ASHA CEUs and their approval will expire on December 31, 2019. However, clinicians who complete the NOMS training will still earn professional development hours (2.5 for adults and 1.5 for pre-kindergarten), which can be used for ongoing certification maintenance and state licensure.  For more information, please visit the ASHA Certification Maintenance page.

 

What does this mean for you and your clinicians?
You should continue to participate in the current version of NOMS as usual. All new NOMS users will still need to be registered for the adult and/or pre-kindergarten NOMS user training(s) in order to submit data. However, users who complete the training after December 31st will not receive ASHA CEUs but will still earn professional development hours. Please let any clinicians who have not completed the training know about this deadline.

 

Error Identified in the Recently Published NCCI (National Correct Coding Initiative) Manual

All Practice Areas
 
An error was identified in the 2019 NCCI (National Correct Coding Initiative) manual. This manual updates the lists all the billing codes each new year. In the 2019 manual, it states that GO515, the new cognitive billing code, is NOT valid for use by speech-language pathologists!!! THIS IS WRONG!!
 
ASHA met with leaders responsible for this manual. They acknowledged the error and further acknowledged that speech-language pathologists can, indeed, treat cognition. They also said that the manual cannot be corrected until they do the 2020 edition.
 
If you get a denial for using GO515, there is a letter that was written by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) that can be submitted with your appeals to help overturn the denial. The letter is available at the following link:

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