Recent reports show that telemedicine remains popular, even as many clinic locations have returned to offering a full range of in-person services. Speech therapy services are effective via remote, virtual services, causing many families to explore virtual options for their loved one’s therapy. This article outlines three steps to help you get started with virtual speech therapy.
1. First, understand your options for virtual speech therapy
The first step to starting virtual speech therapy is to decide if virtual sessions are the route you’d like to take! When deciding if virtual speech is right for your family, it helps to know what options you’re deciding between. Speech therapists, officially called speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the United States, treat a wide range of communication impairments, as well as feeding and swallowing challenges. SLPs work in a broad range of settings, including schools, hospitals, private clinics, client homes, and nursing homes. Teletherapy, or virtual therapy, takes place in any of these locations, and, most often, means that the therapist and client are communicating by video conference despite being in different locations.
If you are looking for virtual speech therapy, you may have already decided that you like the flexibility of online sessions taking place in your own home, or you may be struggling to find options for in-person sessions where you live. The good news is that research continues to show that teletherapy services are effective for speech therapy. If you’re unsure of whether virtual speech therapy is the best option for your family, read our article about deciding if online speech therapy is right for you.
2. Second, check with your health insurance to see if virtual speech therapy is covered and set your budget for speech
To help you get started with virtual speech therapy, it’s good to understand what your options for payment will be. Some health insurance carriers provide coverage for speech therapy services regardless of medical diagnosis, while others only provide coverage for services that follow certain medical events, like surgery or a stroke. The best way to understand your coverage is by calling your health insurance company and asking if speech therapy is covered. Teletherapy services are becoming more widely covered across the country, as COVID-19 required virtual options for continuing services during the pandemic, and more and more research is becoming available regarding the success that clients and patients have with teletherapy. However, it’s still a good idea to call and ask if speech therapy provided exclusively by telehealth is covered. Some insurers have different policies about virtual speech therapy services compared to other types of doctor’s visits, so it’s best to get a representative from your insurer who has access to your policy details to explain your coverage to you.
If you need help coming up with specific questions to ask your insurance company, Verboso offers free screenings to new clients. In these 30 minute consultations, a speech-language pathologist meets with you and your child or loved one to determine if services are needed, and to let you try out the virtual services. This is a great opportunity to talk through logistics like payment as well, and the Verboso team can share expected diagnosis codes and procedure codes (also called CPT codes) so you can have more information about how insurance billing for virtual speech works. We also have low cost monthly subscriptions that are ideal for families without speech insurance coverage. We’re eager to help families access care, so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!
3. Third, check out specific options for virtual speech therapy and sign up!
The third step to get started with virtual speech therapy is to pick a company to try! There are lots of companies who provide virtual speech therapy services. The similarity across these different providers is that they offer speech therapy sessions via video conferencing. Families typically pay per session and see a therapist for a 30 minute session for a specific length of time.
Some questions to ask when trying to find the best fit for your family include:
- Does the therapist have experience treating clients with my loved one’s difficulty?
- Does the therapist have experience working with clients my child’s age?
- Do the company’s fees and costs work for your budget?
- Do I have the necessary technology to do virtual speech, like a good internet connection and device that connects to the internet?
- Does the company offer any additional technology perks to support the treatment? For example, Verboso’s speech therapy program includes access to our one-of-a-kind speech articulation video games.
- Are the sessions held using a secure connection?
Several companies offer a free initial consultation (Verboso does!) so you can get a feel for the services before signing up. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about virtual therapy and the therapy process, so don’t hesitate to reach out!