American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
March 8, 2011

SLPs Still Needed for DOTPA Project

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who treat Medicare Part B patients are needed to participate in the Developing Outpatient Therapy Payment Alternatives (DOTPA) project. DOTPA was developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and will ultimately develop alternatives to the current outpatient therapy payment system. RTI International, a CMS contractor, is recruiting approximately 190 Medicare Part B therapy providers (speech-language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists) nationwide from nursing facilities, hospital outpatient departments (including day rehabilitation programs), private practices, and outpatient rehabilitation facilities and agencies. Over a period of up to six months, each participating provider will assess up to 150 Medicare Part B patients at admission and discharge using DOTPA assessment tools.

DOTPA consists of a tool that will be used to identify, collect, and analyze information related to beneficiary need for and effectiveness of outpatient therapy services. There are different versions of the tool for patients in nursing facilities/day rehabilitation settings and for those in community-based (outpatient) settings. For the past two years, ASHA has provided input to ensure that speech-language pathology services and patient disorders, deficits, and needs are adequately represented in the assessment tool.

It is critical that SLPs contribute data so that appropriate services can be provided to future patients in need of speech-language treatment. Participating providers will benefit by having their patient case mix included in data that will inform future utilization and payment rates for Medicare Part B therapy services. In addition, RTI and CMS will solicit participants feedback on the instrument. Participants also will gain familiarity with the tool, which may become the basis for a universal Medicare assessment instrument.

More information on the DOTPA project is available onThe ASHA Leader online, in the article entitled,SLPs Needed for Study on Therapy Cap Alternatives. (November 23, 2010) The assessment tools are available on the RTI Web site. Participation information is available by e-mailing or by contacting Judith Abbate, deputy project director, by phone at 781-434-1793 or by e-mail at You may also contact Kate Romanow, ASHs director of health care regulatory advocacy, at

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