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California Telepractice Requirements for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

The information below is collected from state licensure boards or regulatory agencies responsible for regulating the professions of audiology and/or speech-language pathology. The information is reviewed on an annual basis. Please be advised that laws, regulations, and policies may change at any time, so always check with your state for the most up-to-date information.

Telepractice State Licensure Board Requirements

California has a policy related to the use of telepractice for audiologists and speech-language pathologists.

Telehealth is viewed as mode of delivery of health care services, not a separate form of practice. There are no legal prohibitions to using technology in the practice of speech-language pathology, audiology, or hearing aid dispensing, as long as the practice is done by a California licensed practitioner. Telehealth is not a telephone conversation, e-mail/instant messaging conversation, or fax; it typically involves the application of videoconferencing or store and forward technology to provide or support health care delivery.

The standard of care is the same whether the patient is seen in-person, through telehealth or other methods of electronically enabled health care. Practitioners need not reside in California, as long as they have a valid, current California license.

The laws govern the practice of speech-language pathology, audiology, and hearing aid dispensing, and no matter how communication is performed, the standards of care is no more or less. Practitioners using Telehealth technologies to provide care to patients located in California must be licensed in California and must provide appropriate services and/or treatment to the patient.

California licensed speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and hearing aid dispensers practicing medicine in other states: Licensees intending to practice via telemedicine technology to treat patients outside of California should check with other state licensing boards. Most states require practitioners to be licensed, and some have enacted limitations to telemedicine practice or require or offer a special registration for interstate practice. 

Citation: Telehealth Technology in CA

Telesupervision State Licensure Board Laws and Regulations

No permanent laws or regulations identified that include audiology or speech-language pathology. However, check with the state or ASHA to learn about emergency or temporary provisions.

Support Personnel

No permanent laws or regulations identified that include audiology or speech-language pathology. However, check with the state or ASHA to learn about emergency or temporary provisions.

Clinical Fellow

No permanent laws or regulations identified that include audiology or speech-language pathology. However, check with the state or ASHA to learn about emergency or temporary provisions.

Student Intern

No permanent laws or regulations identified that include audiology or speech-language pathology. However, check with the state or ASHA to learn about emergency or temporary provisions.

Temporary Practice for Out-of-State Providers

The Board may issue a temporary license for a period of 6 months from date of issuance to a speech-language pathologist or audiologist who holds an unrestricted license from another state or territory of the United States or who holds equivalent qualifications as determined by the Board and has submitted an application to the Board for a license.

Reference: Section 2532.3, Business and Professions Code

Telepractice Reimbursement Laws and Regulations

Telepractice Private Insurance

California law mandates coverage parity for audiology and speech-language pathology services delivered via telepractice:

  • A health insurer cannot require that in-person contact occur between a health care provider and a patient before payment is made for the services appropriately provided through telehealth (subject to the terms of the insurance contract)
  • A health insurer cannot limit the type of setting where services are provided for the patient or by the health care provider before payment is made for the covered services appropriately provided by telehealth (subject to the terms of the insurance contract)

Reference: Cal. Ins. Code §10123.85

Telepractice Medicaid

California law includes audiology and speech-language pathology telepractice services for health care and school settings delivered via telepractice:

  • In-person contact between a health care provider and a patient is not required under the Medi-Cal program for services appropriately provided through telehealth
  • Medi-Cal does not limit the type of setting where services are provided for the patient or by the health care provider before payment is made for the covered services appropriately provided by telehealth

Reference: Cal. Wel. & Inst. Code §14132.72

Note:

CA Children’s Services Program lists eligible CPT/HCPCS codes related to tele-speech, tele-auditory verbal therapy, tele-auditory habilitation and tele-auditory rehabilitation services in the home, with the parent or guardian working with the speech therapist at the distant site.

Reference: CA Department of Health Care Services. Number Letter 09-0718 to CA Children’s Services Program. Jul. 10, 2018. Accessed Sept. 2018 [PDF]

ASHA Guidance

Telepractice State Licensure

  • Obtain a license from the state in which you reside and verify the requirements from the state in which the patient/client resides, which may include in-state licensure.
  • If a state has not established regulations on telepractice, then contact the licensure board for further guidance and ask for written verification.
  • It is the responsibility of the clinician to review the regulations on the state licensure board website in their entirety and regularly for updates or changes.

Telesupervision

If a state has not established regulations on telesupervision, then contact the licensure board for further guidance and ask for written verification.

Reimbursement for Telepractice Services

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists should keep in mind that while a state may have passed telepractice reimbursement laws and/or regulations, this does not guarantee that payers will reimburse for these services. Learn more about considerations for audiologists and speech-language pathologists.    

Resources

For further information on telepractice requirements for audiologists and speech-language pathologists, please visit these websites:

Questions regarding state advocacy issues? Call ASHA at 800-498-2071 and ask for the State Advocacy Team.  

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