Specialty Certification could make it MORE DIFFICULT to obtain funding for AAC systems

MassHealth and New York Medicaid already have SGD coverage guidelines that require SLP reports to be submitted by “experienced” SLPs.  The NY coverage guidelines say “a licensed [SLP] experienced in AAC service delivery has made the recommendation for the device ….” [NY Medicaid SGD coverage guideline, 1(f) effective 8/1/2019]  Neither program currently has any criteria further defining who is “experienced” from who isn’t.  Specialty certification will be a gift, presented by ASHA, to fill in that blank.  Experience may be defined for the purpose of SLP assessment, recommendation and report, as specialty certification. It also may extend to who will be qualified to provide SGD treatment following device delivery. 

This proposal is a slap in the face of the many SLPs who will not qualify for specialty certification for whatever reason, but who nonetheless work extremely hard, who are passionate about their work and their clients, who volunteer untold numbers of hours to prepare reports and answer oftentimes demeaning follow up requests, and who take time off from work or their after-work hours to prepare for and participate in appeal hearings after funding sources ignored their recommendations and explanations.  

The RESNA “ATP” “credential” has been incorporated into many programs’ coverage guidelines applicable to mobility devices: some documentation required to support a funding request for these DME items must be submitted by someone who holds the ATP.   

While the risk of a certification requirement for SGDs may be only a possibility, for mobility items, a “credential” is a requirement in fact. Also, the effect of the ATP requirement is clear.  It was promoted for funding source adoption by the DME industry as a way to protect their market share from competitors who did not have similar staff or offer similar scope of fitting and service.  It clearly was intended as an exclusionary measure.