SAN FRANCISCO, September 12, 2017 – Just in time for the 2017-18 school year, New Jersey has decided to allow schools and districts across New Jersey to request Medicaid reimbursement for their use of online speech-language therapy services like those provided by PresenceLearning, the leading telehealth network of live, online special education related service providers. These reimbursed funds are crucial to schools and districts who can apply the funds to a variety of programming, including afterschool programs, early education initiatives, school climate and behavior initiatives and more.
“New Jersey just notched up a big win in terms of making sure all children have access to the therapy services they need,” said Clay Whitehead, co-Founder and CEO of PresenceLearning. “This change will get therapy to the kids that need it. It also makes sure that the schools and families can choose the type of service that is best for each kid–online or offline–based on individual circumstances rather than reimbursement regulations. New Jersey is taking an important and impactful step in joining dozens of other states in recognizing that teletherapy is a standard and valuable part of modern therapy.”
The New Jersey Departments of Education (DOE), Human Services (DHS) and the Treasury started the Special Education Medicaid Initiative (SEMI) in 1993 to “recover a portion of costs for certain Medicaid-covered services provided to Medicaid-eligible students enrolled in participating New Jersey local education agencies (LEAs).” This July, SEMI and Medicaid Administrative Claiming (MAC) updated its handbook to include online speech-language therapy services on the list of covered services.
In April 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a major clarification of telehealth reimbursement federal policy. It declared states are no longer required to submit a separate Service Provider Agreement (SPA) for coverage of telehealth services if they reimburse for the services the same way they reimburse for traditional on-the-ground services. Now, 24 states and the District of Columbia have declared LEAs may submit claims for reimbursement for live online speech-language therapy services. In addition, many of these states have included the full range of IEP-related services delivered via telehealth, including behavioral and mental health services, in their Medicaid reimbursement policy clarifications.
PresenceLearning (www.presencelearning.com) is the leading telehealth network of providers of clinical and diagnostic services to educational organizations. The PresenceLearning care network has provided over one million sessions of live, online speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions and mental health services, diagnostic services and assessments, and early childhood services for children with special needs.