January 2013 Newsletter


Clinical Café Newsletter                        

By: Ronda Polansky M.S. CCC-SLP





DiagnosTEX 2013 Dysphagia Calendar – Be sure you get the new DiagnosTEX 2013 Dysphagia Calendar if you haven’t already, there is a limited supply.


Fun Facts about New Year’s Resolutions – new beginnings

  1. About      40 to 45% of American adults make one or more New Year’s resolutions each      year.
  2. About      67% of people who make resolutions make three or more.
  3. The      most popular resolutions include promises of weight loss, exercise and      quitting smoking.
  4. Also      common are resolutions dealing with better money management / debt      reduction.
  5. The following statistics reveal how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes by:
  • past      the first week: 75%
  • past      2 weeks: 71%
  • after      one month: 64%
  • after      6 months: 46%

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!


Unpredictable Weather in Texas – It’s been a warm winter… so far!

Unfortunately in Texas we do not get a beautiful flaky snowfall, we get ice (usually black ice).  Our weather can change overnight! Last year we had a terrible snowstorm and it shut our vans down for 4 days.  This kind of weather obviously becomes a problem for anyone who travels.  Most of our daily routine is traveling extensively in all directions!  As winter approaches and the threat of severe weather conditions arise, DiagnosTEX owners and drivers will evaluate the conditions of the roads and DiagnosTEX will contact all scheduled facilities immediately if we are unable to meet our appointments for that day.  If the weather conditions are severe, we will cancel the day and reschedule the studies as promptly as possible. If bad weather arises during the workday, an owner and the driver(s) present on the mobile unit(s) will decide together if any changes in the schedule should be made. The patients are extremely important, and our top priority has to be the safety of the patients, our employees and vehicles!  Avoiding these kinds of risk is also important to prevent further delay of our service to you (resulting from injury or damaged vehicles). Even minor damage to the mobile vehicle can put us “down” for several days. Our workdays are heavily weighted with travel (all over the D/FW metroplex and surrounding areas, on multiple roads and bridges, through varying amounts/degrees of traffic), which naturally increases our risk of difficulties (especially weather-related). Our decision to run the vans on a particular day may be based upon whether or not public schools are closed because of road conditions. In the case of a cancelled day, we will do our best to get your study rescheduled as promptly as we can. Please drive carefully during these winter ice storms!


Documentation = Complete HX and consult forms and new healthcare policies

Due to the forward motion of the new healthcare system, things are being implemented to prepare for 2014 when several Obamacare regulations go into place.  There are over 40 billion dollars being directed to new boards to implement these systems, new policies and new regulations. Documentation is becoming much more critical.  Documentation has always has been important but is now being scrutinized more. It is predicted in 2014 that a doctor’s order will be required to provide diagnostic information, signs and symptoms and a diagnosis code for it to be valid.  Medical necessity is a big concern with the implementation of the new policies.

I can not emphasize enough that the DiagnosTEX consult request forms are a part of the medical record and the person filling it out will be held responsible for the information placed on it.  Consequences from lack of documentation can fall back on the treating professional.  The consult forms must be complete and provide all necessary information including any progress made or changes in patient status.  Please take careful consideration of this when you fill out the form before sending it in to us. If there is ever an audit to the patient’s medical record, this is representative of your license and you will be judged on the information you provide.


ASHA SLP Healthcare Survey Highlights

A survey was sent out to over 4,000 ASHA certified SLPs employed in the USA, of which 2451 responded.  Median salaries appeared to increase with years of experience. From 2009-2011 salaries remained steady in the south, including Texas, but declined in the Northeast and Midwest. SNF had higher median range than those in other health care settings.  The median hourly wage was $36.88 for more than 30 weekly hours and $45.00 for fewer than 30 weekly hours.


TSHA has a new CE Processor!
Jennifer Fraser is the new CE Processor effective December 1, 2012.  She can be reached at:
4100 W Eldorado Pkwy, Ste 100- #372
McKinney, TX 75070
phone: 214-709-6226
fax: 888-894-6358


Medicare Physician Fee schedule for 2013

The final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) rule for calendar year 2013 includes a statutorily required 26.5% reduction to physician payments beginning January 1, 2013 in accordance with the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.  Congress acted several times to postpone any reduction and the delayed cumulative reduction has continued to grow.  The Obama Administration states that it is committed to fixing the SGR formula and averting these payment cuts.