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Tennessee 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

This state has licensure laws and/or regulations for telepractice.   

USE OF TELECOMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

(1) Policy Statement. Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists often use telecommunication technology to deliver services to clients in Tennessee who are physically present at a different location in the state at the time they receive the services. Such use of telecommunication technology by Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists is in the public interest provided the practitioners comply with the requirements of this rule.

(2) Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists licensed in Tennessee may deliver services to clients in Tennessee through the use of telecommunication technology, including but not limited to dedicated video systems, computers, and other similar devices linked via hardwired or internet connections.

(3) The services delivered through the use of telecommunication technology shall be equivalent in quality to services delivered face-to-face.

(4) Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists using telecommunication technology to deliver services must have the necessary knowledge and skills, obtained through education, training, and experience, to utilize such technology in a competent manner.

(5) The use of telecommunication technology, including but not limited to the equipment, connectivity, software, hardware, and network compatibility, must be appropriate for the particular service being delivered and must be able to address the unique needs of the client. A licensed audiologist or speech language pathologist must always be physically present at the hub site while interactive telecommunication technology is being utilized to deliver services to a client who is physically present at the distant (remote) site. No asynchronous use of telecommunication technology is permitted by this rule.

(6) An Audiologist or Speech Language Pathologist utilizing telecommunication technology to deliver services to a client is responsible for:

  (a) Assessment of the ability of the client to participate meaningfully in the services delivered in this manner, including but not limited to the client’s physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities; and 
  (b) Proper calibration of the clinical instruments utilized to deliver services in accordance with standard operating procedures and manufacturer’s specifications.

(7) The client and/or the client’s family members or caregivers shall be informed of the available service delivery options and shall give consent to the use of telecommunication technology for the delivery of services before that method of service delivery is utilized.

(8) When delivering services through the use of telecommunication technology, the Audiologist or Speech Language Pathologist shall:

  (a) Comply with all laws and rules governing the maintenance of client records, including but not limited to client confidentiality requirements; and

  (b) Comply with all professional standards governing the delivery of services by Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists, including but not limited to the applicable Code of Ethics and other relevant professional policy documents.

RULES FOR SPEECH PATHOLOGY AND AUDIOLOGY CHAPTER 1370-01 (Rule 1370-01-.21, continued)

(9) An Audiologist or Speech Language Pathologist shall not deliver services to a client solely through the use of regular mail, facsimile, or electronic mail, although these methods of communication may be used to supplement the delivery of services face-to-face or through the use of telecommunication technology.

(10) This rule applies only to the delivery of services through the use of telecommunication technology within the state of Tennessee. It does not apply to the delivery of services when either the client or the Audiologist or Speech Language Pathologist is physically located outside the state of Tennessee.

Citation: Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1370-01-.21 [PDF]

Telesupervision State Licensure Board Laws and Regulations

This state has no laws or regulations for telesupervision. 

Support Personnel

No regulations.

Clinical Fellow

No regulations.

Student Intern

No regulations.

Telepractice Reimbursement Laws and Regulations

Telepractice Private Insurance 

The law is not clearly defined indicating that any healthcare provider and service may be covered. It is left up to interpretation and/or will be determined by the payers. Clinicians will have to contact payer sources to determine if or how telepractice is covered.

Telehealth Services

(a)(1)  "Health insurance entity" has the same meaning as defined in § 56-7-109 and includes managed care organizations participating in the medical assistance program under title 71, chapter 5;

(3) "Healthcare services provider" means an individual acting within the scope of a valid license issued pursuant to title 63;

(7) "Telehealth provider" means a healthcare services provider engaged in the delivery of healthcare services through telehealth.

(b) Healthcare services provided through a telehealth encounter shall comply with state licensure requirements promulgated by the appropriate licensure boards. Telehealth providers shall be held to the same standard of care as healthcare services providers providing the same healthcare service through in-person encounters.

(c)  A telehealth provider who seeks to contract with or who has contracted with a health insurance entity to participate in the health insurance entity's network shall be subject to the same requirements and contractual terms as a healthcare services provider in the health insurance entity's network.

(d)  Subject to subsection (c), a health insurance entity:

(1)  Shall provide coverage under a health insurance policy or contract for covered healthcare services delivered through telehealth;

(2)  Shall reimburse a healthcare services provider for the diagnosis, consultation, and treatment of an insured patient for a healthcare service covered under a health insurance policy or contract that is provided through telehealth without any distinction or consideration of the geographic location or any federal, state, or local designation, or classification of the geographic area where the patient is located;

(3)  Shall not exclude from coverage a healthcare service solely because it is provided through telehealth and is not provided through an in-person encounter between a healthcare services provider and a patient; and

(4)  Shall reimburse healthcare services providers who are out-of-network for telehealth care services under the same reimbursement policies applicable to other out-of-network healthcare services providers.

Citation: Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-7-1002.

Telepractice Medicaid Reimbursement Laws and Regulations

Tennessee reimburses for Telepractice under Medicaid. All TN Medicaid recipients are enrolled in a Managed Care Plan. Eligible providers include every profession licensed under state title 63, which includes SLPs and audiologists.

Citation: Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-7-1002.

ASHA Guidance

Telepractice State Licensure

  • Obtain a license from the state in which you reside and from the state in which the patient/client resides.
  • 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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