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.