Washington, DC — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that, effective January 1, 2011, a physician must be in the room when a speech-language pathologist performs a videostroboscopy or nasopharyngoscopy procedure (CPT code 31579, 92511) under Medicare Part B.

The decision was reportedly made as the result of a practitioner’s inquiry to a CMS regional office regarding Medicare supervisory requirements. However, the specific requirements are still not clear.

According to a recent American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) announcement, CMS has not released an explanation regarding this ruling, nor has a separate announcement been released.

ASHA also noted that CMS did not request information from ASHA or the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) before making its decision. As a result, ASHA announced that it is now in the early stages of discussing a joint letter with AAO-HNS to CMS that will protest the stringent nature of the policy and the isolated method in which the decision was made. The draft version of the letter recommends a lower level of supervision such as the physician being available in the office suite.

More information will be made available on ASHA’s Web site under "Advocacy" and "news."  ASHA members can also contact [email protected] and receive alerts via its e-newsletter.

SOURCE: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)