Survey Highlights SLP Trends in Health Care Download the survey results [PDF] published in the Oct. 8 issue of The ASHA Leader. A recently completed ASHA survey shows how speech-language pathologists are being affected by the continuing changes in the nation’s health care system—from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to the Medicare Prospective Payment ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   December 01, 2002
Survey Highlights SLP Trends in Health Care
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Healthcare Settings / Language Disorders / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   December 01, 2002
Survey Highlights SLP Trends in Health Care
The ASHA Leader, December 2002, Vol. 7, 1-15. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.07222002.1
The ASHA Leader, December 2002, Vol. 7, 1-15. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.07222002.1
Download the survey results [PDF] published in the Oct. 8 issue of The ASHA Leader.
A recently completed ASHA survey shows how speech-language pathologists are being affected by the continuing changes in the nation’s health care system—from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to the Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS). In the survey, SLPs also were asked about job satisfaction, reimbursement, referrals, and utilization of technology.
The survey was sent to 5,000 SLPs in health care settings nationwide—hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, pediatric hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), home health, and outpatient clinics—and the results are based on 1,955 responses. The entire document is available on ASHA’s Web site. In addition, the Oct. 8 issue of The ASHA Leader included a graphic view of the survey results (click on the link above to download the PDF document).
Although part of HIPAA—provisions related to privacy and electronic data transmission of patient records—took effect in October, 63% of SLPs surveyed said they were “not knowledgeable at all” about the new law.
Regarding job satisfaction, the overall level of satisfaction is about the same as it was three years ago. Respondents in outpatient clinics reported the greatest job satisfaction. The highest levels of dissatisfaction were with clinicians from SNFs (43%) and rehabilitation hospitals (33%). Across all settings, the most frequently cited cause of job dissatisfaction was paperwork, followed by negative changes in working conditions.
The survey also suggests that many SLPs—66% of respondents—receive referrals for patients who could benefit from augmentative and alternative communication devices.
Technology is not a big draw for SLPs. Respondents rarely used software or Web-based programs for treatment, evaluation, documentation, patient education, or billing. The most frequent use was for billing, with 29% reporting that they used software or Web-based programs all the time.
Medicare is the primary source of reimbursement for a majority of patients served (36%), and 51% of respondents work in a facility that received reimbursement through a PPS system.
A majority—73%—believes that PPS presents more barriers to quality patient care. Those barriers include pressure to contain services within predetermined limits (80%), increased documentation (69%), reduced length of stay (54%), pressure to limit referrals for instrumental swallowing studies (39%), insufficient SLP staffing (26%), fewer opportunities to screen patients (25%), and services being provided by allied professionals (9%).
Who Do We Serve?
Of the SLPs surveyed, clinicians in hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, SNFs, and outpatient clinics primarily work with adults (73%). Contrary to anecdotal reports that SLPs in health care primarily treat dysphagia, respondents said they spent 31% of the time treating this disorder, and spent 15% of the time treating aphasia and cognitive communication disorders, respectively.
A majority of SLPs in pediatric hospitals, home health, and outpatient speech/hearing clinics reported working with children, primarily treating language disorders (20%), articulation/phonology (16%), and cognitive-communication disorders (7%).
A predicted outcome of PPS was that group treatment would increase dramatically. This proved to be unfounded, as 91% of treatment time is spent with individual patients.
Regarding work schedules, nearly half (48%) of respondents had a productivity requirement—defined as the number of hours spent in direct patient care divided by the number of hours worked—in their facility. The most commonly cited productivity requirement was 70%–79% (about six hours in an eight-hour day) in all settings, except pediatric hospitals, where the most common requirement was 60%–69%.
For more information, contact Janet Brown through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4136, or by e-mail at jbrown@asha.org; or Amy Hasselkus at ext. 4514 or by e-mail at ahasselkus@asha.org.
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December 2002
Volume 7, Issue 22