March 2014 Newsletter


      Clinical Café Newsletter                        

By: Ronda Polansky M.S. CCC-SLP

March 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow

and may trouble avoid you wherever you go

may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship

and never in want.”


March is Brain Injury Awareness Month  By the year 2020, TBI is expected to be the number one health problems in the world.  The CDC currently estimates 5.3 million Americans currently have long term need for help performing ADL’s as a result of their TBI. In Texas, close to 150K people sustain TBI each year, and this does not account for those who went to ER and were released or those who never went to ER. TBI hospitalization totals are approximately 1.8 billion each year and only 5% of the survivors receive the rehab they need.  In Texas there is no TBI Medicaid waiver to support long term needs. Advocacy efforts can help by contacting area government representatives and ask that finding be made available to acquired brain injury survivors.


2014 DiagnosTEX scheduling paperwork – We have been handing our new paperwork in a packet on the vans, be sure to update any paperwork that you have and discard the old ones. Thank you!


Upcoming CEU Opportunities

AMPCARE ESP  – Deciphering Dysphagia with E-Stim–   Upcoming courses

  • Feb. 22- Albuquerque, NM
  • Mar. 29- Houston, TX
  • Apr. 5- San Antonio, TX
  • Apr. 12- Louisiana
  • Apr. 26- Columbus, OH
  • May 17- Las Colinas, TX

Visit for more information and to register!!!


Dysphagia Research Society– March 5-8 in Nashville, TN


SPEAK OUT! Workshops  SLPs can earn 10 hours of ASHA CEUs, receive $250 worth of therapy materials, and all their future Parkinson’s patients receive a free SPEAK OUT! workbook from Parkinson Voice Project.  The cost of the workshop is $415 for certified SLPs and $285 for graduate students:.  Register online at To see upcoming workshops go a link on the brochure



Congress Postponed Scheduled 20 percent Medicare Fee Cut – This postponed cut ends April 1, 2014. We are all patiently waiting to hear the decisions.


*****New Healthcare Era – Scheduling studies***********

We have had many calls lately, as facilities are not getting their swallow studies scheduled as quickly as they would prefer. Due to a new healthcare era that has resulted in reimbursement cuts of at least 30%, in turn resulting in budget changes for us. DiagnosTEX has had to make some organizational decisions to remain profitable and stable in a volatile healthcare environment. When we started 10 years ago, reimbursement was significantly different, government was different, and healthcare provided to those who needed it was different………………. we operated differently.  The mobile operation remains an avenue that has not been recognized as its own entity by Medicare.  We are considered no different than a free standing facility, therefore our cost of maintenance on vehicles, fuel etc. are not considered in the reimbursement considered for MBSS. Although our reimbursement has decreased annually, we have continued to provide this service at a lower cost to the facilities, much lower than transporting the patient out to the hospital. We continue to petition Medicare about these issues today, but it is a slow process and will not happen overnight, like most governmental issues.

Saying all this, we need our customers to recognize, that although the service is still needed and still requested, our ability to get out to you in 24- 48 hours is no longer as easy as it used to be.  Not to say that we won’t get to your patients that quickly, but there is a high possibility once a study is sent in there may be a period of 1 week before it is scheduled.  If the situation requires immediate attention, you made need to consider a hospital.  Effective this year, we have reduced the number of our mobile clinics on the road in a day, as our vans can only operate to maximum efficiency if we schedule several studies geographically in a more condensed area.

As always we have a very difficult time meeting the needs of those who require a specific time, day and/or specific date, as we are unable to schedule in that manner being a mobile company. Such scheduling requires a free standing facility.  Mobile is for the convenience of us coming to you and not having to schedule outside the facility or home that would require transportation to that location.   We ask for your flexibility and understanding regarding scheduling that may exceed a 2-3 day wait, in this new era of healthcare. We will continue to provide the same quality as you have always expected from us.


DiagnosTEX Electronic Medical Record (EMR) – As most of you in the healthcare field know, an EMR is now required in the healthcare setting.  DiagnosTEX will implement our new EMR system this month.  The physician report will look slightly different but contain all of the same information,  In the month of March, as we adjust to this new system and form of documentation, the reports may take a little longer than usual, effecting our schedule some.  We will succeed at becoming more efficient the more we use it, but there will be a training period, a learning period, and efficiency period with this change in system.  The SLP report will remain the same format.


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