The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) determined that, effective January 1, 2011, a physician must be in the room when a speech-language pathologist (SLP) performs a videostroboscopy or nasopharyngoscopy procedure (CPT 31579, 92511). No other speech-language pathology procedures are affected by this ruling including CPT 92612 (FEES). CMS has not released an explanation regarding this ruling, nor has a separate announcement been released. Furthermore, CMS did not request information from ASHA or other related organizations prior to making this decision.
ASHA is communicating with CMS and will send a letter protesting the stringent nature of the physician supervision policy and requesting a face-to-face meeting with CMS officials. ASHA is in talks with other organizations to join the advocacy. If CMS does not reverse the supervision decision, ASHA plans to pursue rulemaking options at CMS and seek redress at other levels, including other government agencies and Congress.
To assist with advocacy efforts, ASHA is working on compiling data that demonstrates that videostroboscopy or nasopharyngoscopy procedures are commonly and safely performed by an SLP, and that physicians support SLPs performing them without in-the-room supervision. Some ASHA members may have already received and responded to a request for such information. If you have not, and would like to help ASHA compile these data, please send the following information:
- Approximately how many procedures you perform each year: (specify videostroboscopy, nasopharyngoscopy, or FEES);
- Data or other sources of information that support the lack of adverse consequences when performed by SLPs (apart from articles by Aviv et al.); and
- The name and contact information of your collaborating physician(s) (if he/she would be willing to be contacted to support these statements).
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