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We know that you are working hard to stay safe and healthy, take care of your families, meet the needs of the individuals you serve, and find creative ways to connect from a distance. ASHA members’ and volunteers’ safety is our top priority, and we’re here to help you during this uncertain time. Check for the latest updates and resources, including on telepractice.

Please contact the Action Center (800-498-2071 or actioncenter@asha.org) with any questions.

Arkansas 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 regulations for telepractice.

Licensure Act of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

§17-100-103 Definitions

(7) "Telepractice" means telespeech, teleaudiology, teleSLP, telehealth, or telerehabilitation when used separately or together; and

(8) "Telepractice service" means the application of telecommunication technology equivalent in quality to services delivered face-to-face to deliver speech-language pathology or audiology services, or both, at a distance for assessment, intervention or consultation, or both. 

Citation: Ark. Code Ann. § 17-100-100 [PDF]

Rules and Regulations of the State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

SECTION 12. TELEPRACTICE 12.1 Guidelines for Use of Telepractice

A. Services delivered via telecommunication technology must be equivalent to the quality of services delivered face-to-face, i.e. in-person.

B. Telepractice services must conform to professional standards including, but not limited to: Code of Ethics, scope of practice, professional policy documents and other relevant federal, state and institutional policies and requirements.

C. Telepractitioners must have the knowledge and skills to competently deliver services via telecommunication technology by virtue of education, training and experience.

D. The use of technology, e.g. equipment, connectivity, software, hardware and network shall address the unique needs of each client.

E. Telepractice service delivery includes the responsibility for calibration of clinical instruments in accordance with standard operating procedures and the manufacturer’s specifications.

F. The telepractitioner is responsible for assessing the client’s candidacy for telepractice including behavioral, physical and cognitive abilities to participate in services provided via telecommunications.

G. At a minimum, notification of telepractice services should be provided to the client, the guardian, the caregiver and the multi-disciplinary team, if appropriate. The notification could include but not be limited to: the right to refuse telepractice services, options for service delivery, and instructions on filing and resolving complaints.

H. Telepractitioners shall comply with all laws, rules and regulations governing the maintenance of client records, including client confidentiality requirements, regardless of the state where the records of any client within this state are maintained.

I. Telepractitioners located out-of-state may provide services to persons in this state providing they meet the requirements in Section 5 of the ABESPA Rules and Regulations and apply for an Arkansas license within the first 30 days of practice.

Regulations

12.2 Limitations of Telepractice Services

A. Telepractice services may not be provided by correspondence only, e.g. mail, email, faxes, although they may be adjuncts to telepractice.

B. Interstate and intrastate telepractice may be limited by the state, state licensure boards, federal or reimbursement laws and policies.

C. Audio and video quality should be sufficient to deliver services that are equivalent to in-person.

12.3 Service Delivery Models A. Telehealth may be delivered in a variety of ways as set out in this section.

(1) Store-and-forward model/electronic transmission which is an asynchronous electronic transmission of stored clinical data from one location to another.

(2) Clinician interactive model is a synchronous, real time interaction between the provider and client or consultant that may occur via telecommunication links.

(3) Self-monitoring/testing model refers to when the client or consultant receiving the services provides data to the provider without a facilitator present at the site of the client or consultant.

(4) Live versus stored data refers to the actual data transmitted during the telepractice. Both Live, real-time and stored clinical data may be included during the telepractice.

Citation: Ark. Code. R. § 117.00.14-001 (2015) [PDF]

Telesupervision State Licensure Board Laws and Regulations

Telesupervision is permitted for support personnel under indirect supervision and not direct supervision. This state has no laws or regulations for telesupervision of clinical fellows or student interns.

Support Personnel

Permitted.

12.4 Telepractice - Supervision

A. Supervision of assistants may be done through telepractice as long as client confidentiality can be maintained.

B. Supervision rules shall remain the same as those stated for assistants

13.8 Rules and Regulations Governing Registration of Speech-Language Pathology Assistants - Definitions

D. Direct Supervision - Direct supervision means on-site, in-view observation and guidance by a speech language pathologist while an assigned clinical activity is performed by a speech language pathology assistant or speech-language pathology aide.

E. Indirect Supervision - Indirect supervision means those activities other than direct observation and guidance conducted by a speech-language pathologist that may include demonstration, record review, review and evaluation of audio or videotaped sessions, and/or interactive television.

Citation: Ark. Code. R. § 117.00.14-001 (2015) [PDF] 

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 and how telepractice is covered. Arkansas Act 203, enacted in 2017 requires coverage for services under private insurance, Medicaid, state employee health plans, managed care plans. It does not restrict payers from covering other services. Health plans will provide for telemedicine on the same basis as coverage for in person service. It includes health care providers licensed by the state. The law requires the establishment of a professional relationship a s condition for coverage and payment. 

The Arkansas Patient Protection Act of 1995 defines the term “Healthcare Providers” and includes audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Therefore, audiology and speech-language pathology services may be covered.  Check with the payer source.

Telemedicine Act - Definitions 

(2) "Healthcare professional" means a person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the laws of this state to administer health care in the ordinary course of the practice of his or her profession;

  (3) "Originating site" means a site at which a patient is located at the time healthcare services are provided to him or her by means of telemedicine;

(4) "Professional relationship" means at minimum a relationship established between a healthcare professional and a patient when:

(A) The healthcare professional has previously conducted an in-person examination and is available to provide appropriate follow-up care, when necessary, at medically necessary intervals;  

(B) The healthcare professional personally knows the patient and the patient's relevant health status through an ongoing personal or professional relationship and is available to provide appropriate follow-up care, when necessary, at medically necessary intervals;

(C) The treatment is provided by a healthcare professional in consultation with, or upon referral by, another healthcare professional who has an ongoing relationship with the patient and who has agreed to supervise the patient's treatment, including follow-up care;

(D) An on-call or cross-coverage arrangement exists with the patient's regular treating healthcare professional or another healthcare professional who has established a professional relationship with the patient;

(E) A relationship exists in other circumstances as defined by rule of the Arkansas State Medical Board for healthcare professionals under its jurisdiction and their patients; or 

(F) A relationship exists in other circumstances as defined by rule of a licensing or certification board for other healthcare professionals under the jurisdiction of the appropriate board and their patients if the rules are no less restrictive than the rules of the Arkansas State Medical Board;

Citation: Ark. Code Ann. § 17-80-402  

Appropriate Use of Telemedicine

(a) (1)  A professional relationship shall be established in compliance with § 17-80-403 to provide healthcare services through telemedicine.

(2)  Once a professional relationship is established, a healthcare professional may provide healthcare services through telemedicine, including interactive audio, if the healthcare services are within the scope of practice for which the healthcare professional is licensed or certified and the healthcare services otherwise meet the requirements of this subchapter.

(3)  A licensing or certification board shall not permit the use of telemedicine in a manner that is less restrictive than the use of telemedicine authorized by the Arkansas State Medical Board.

Citation: Ark. Code Ann. § 17-80-404

Patient Protection Act of 1995 - Definitions

(d) "Healthcare provider" means those individuals or entities licensed by the State of Arkansas to provide health care services, limited to the following (3) Audiologists; (28) Speech pathologists.

Citation: Ark. Code Ann. § 23-99-203

Coverage for Telemedicine

 (b)  A healthcare professional providing a healthcare service provided through telemedicine shall comply with the requirements of the Telemedicine Act, § 17-80-401 et seq.

(c) (1)  A health benefit plan shall provide coverage and reimbursement for healthcare services provided through telemedicine on the same basis as the health benefit plan provides coverage and reimbursement for health services provided in person, unless this subchapter specifically provides otherwise.

(2)  A health benefit plan is not required to reimburse for a healthcare service provided through telemedicine that is not comparable to the same service provided in person.

(3)  A health benefit plan may voluntarily reimburse for healthcare services provided through means described in § 23-79-1601(7)(C)

Citation: Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-1602

Telepractice Medicaid

No laws or regulations identified that include audiology or speech-language pathology. 

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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