This is a process many SLPs need to know if they work with non-speaking clients. Here, I will walk you through funding a high-tech AAC device. This is tried and true (by me!). Going outside of the sequence will create more work for you (believe me, I have been there!). This is the most efficient way I have been able to go through the funding process.
1) AAC questionnaire to parent/client
This step is so important. Find out the insurance the client has and if it covers speech generating devices (you may need to call the insurance company). I also recommend finding out the co-pay (if there is one). You need to know what previous devices the client or student has had, how long they had it, when they received it, and how it was purchased (e.g., private pay or insurance funded). You also need to know the current interest and knowledge the parent or client has of AAC devices.
2) AAC evaluation
Perform an AAC evaluation with a loaned device from a lending library (I use the AT UDL Loan Library for the State of Florida) or from a device representative. Evaluate the client using the system. Mainly look at ACCESS over LANGUAGE ABILITIES. Access is what matters most at this point (can they activate the key they are trying to activate, do they need a keyguard, etc). Language follows access… Language will be developed in many cases while they learn the AAC device. That being said, keep data on what the client was able to communicate using the device because this will be needed for the report.
3) Trial 2+ devices
This may be required by the insurance company for funding. Make sure you trial two different apps or two different systems to compare. The insurance companies want to know that the system you selected benefits them over other available devices.
4) Parent completes the Assignment of Benefits (AOB) form
This is for the device company when they submit the documents to the insurance company for approval. It includes their insurance information, your ASHA number, your contact info, the device you selected for purchase, the doctor’s information, etc.
5) Write AAC report
This will take some time. It helps to have a template to work off of and to see what your report should include. These are available on the Prentke Romich Company website or Tobii Dynavox website.
6) Fax or send signed AAC report to MD for prescription
The doctor needs the report you wrote in order to write the prescription for the device.
7) Collect prescription card from MD
You need a prescription of the AAC device (device name and company name with CPT code) under the client’s name. The doctor must sign it or it must be time stamped.
8) Upload report, AOB form, and AAC prescription to device funding website or to device representative.
Upload all documents securely to the website or fax to the device company.
9) Funding received/approved from insurance company
This is what you have been waiting for! Celebrate!!
After the device is received, training the family, client, and the client’s teachers/staff should begin! Customize the device to your client and let the therapy begin!
Let me know if these steps help you.
Thank you for reading!!