Speech-Language Therapy Law and Legal Definition

Speech-language therapy refers to the study of disorders that affect a person's speech, language, cognition, voice and swallowing, and imparting treatment to regain and strengthen speech skills. It is offered on outpatient basis by a speech pathologist at a hospital outpatient department, skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation facility, or from a rehabilitation or home healthcare agency. Medicare will pay for outpatient speech pathology services, if such service is medically necessary, if the condition can improve by therapy and the doctor or therapist sets up and reviews the plan of treatment.

Medicare part B covers speech therapy services provided independently of home healthcare. Payment is determined based on the fee associated with the specific procedure adopted in the service. Speech-language therapy services under medicare part B have reimbursement rates established by the medicare physician fee schedule. The fee schedule is updated annually.

Treatment given in speech-language therapy service varies from physical strengthening exercises, sign language ,the use of picture symbols ,instructive or repetitive practice and drilling, to the use of audio-visual aids and introduction of strategies to facilitate functional communication. Speech-language therapy services is also called speech pathology.