Payment for Therapy
The first thing that one should know is that the remediation (habilitation/rehabilitation) process for typical Speech and Language challenges can be lengthy. Factors include the following: periods.
Therapy will usually last no less than six months and could go on for three years or more. Typically, we see children for about 2 years, however some children are treated in shorter or longer periods.
We will attempt to
provide our perspective concerning therapy considerations and costs.
However, we advise you to talk to other professionals from all of the
sources mentioned in this section and get their opinions firsthand.
Please remember we see this situation through the eyes of a private
The fact is that,
no matter where your child will receive treatment, it is going to be
major budgetary item for whoever pays the final cost. Whether you pay
the bill as a private client, the school system pays it as a budgetary
item, your insurance company covers the service, or if payment comes
indirectly through some State or Federal agency, all therapy services
require payment from some source.
Before we get into the specific costs of enrolling your child in a private clinic, perhaps it would be more useful to define what you can expect to receive within this type of setting.
Although clinics may differ, other comprehensive services provided at our center include:
Speech Care Center is a Full Service Clinic.
In order to determine if the clinic you are interviewing offers "comprehensive services" simply ask. Listen to the answer and do not prompt them. If they know what information you are seeking they will tell you. If not, you will get a very general reply.
We provide a printable checklist for your convenience that can assist you with gathering information on clinics and therapists.
As a result of differences in services offered, therapy rates vary from clinic to clinic.
An additional mitigating factor is the geographical area that the clinic services..
A recent in-depth poll (Summer 2001) marked off an area from Pacific Palisades (North) and (South) to Anaheim. The western boundary was the Pacific Ocean and the eastern boundary was about ten miles along this North/South corridor. The following results were obtained:
Inside this area, approximately sixty-one clinics were identified. The clinics ranged from pediatric to adult, or to organizations serving a combination of pediatric/adult population.
Prices ranged considerably from the highest at about $135.00 per clinical hour (50 minutes), although a few were higher, to the lowest being $75.00 per hour for non-profit clinics.
This poll included
non-profit clinics, which are not in the private sector. Although they
work closely with the state and federal government, they are not a
direct part of the direct government assistance programs.
West Los Angeles showed the highest rates in the private sector, which, on the average, were around $115.00 p/hr.
You will find private practice rates in the South Bay to be in a range, on the average, between the low nineties to about one hundred ten dollars per clinical hour. Since the majority of our clients (about 70%) are from the South Bay area, we pay particular attention to this region, and place our rates accordingly. We are competitively priced.
Half hour rates are also available and run slightly more than half of the one-hour rates, since the cost of providing services run disproportionately higher.
Our detailed rate schedule is posted in our lobby, also indicating Speech/Language Group and Social Skills Group rates.
We provide three basic methods of payment:
A late payment fee
is charged for each period for which a payment is not remitted after the
eighteenth of the month. If remittance is not made by the end of the payment
month AND no arrangements have been made with our office, services are
temporarily put on hold until the current balance is paid, including the
Please note that a
message is included on each invoice that invites you to call a "24
hour, 7 days a week" number and make delayed payment arrangements
with us. We understand that from time to time we all need a little assistance,
and we can be very accommodating.
vary at each clinic and so you should be vigilant in investigating the
procedure and practices for each clinic you consider.
also can provide financial assistance in the form of a reduced rate for
families in need.
These reduced rates
are subject to the following provisions:
can you expect your child to be in treatment
We will often repeat on this site that treatment for speech and language disorders is not a short-term issue. Therefore effectiveness is very important. Treatment takes time and CONSISTANCY. You should be prepared to make every possible session with your child. This will facilitate the program’s effectiveness and your child’s steady progress.
This is especially
important when your insurance is providing payment as they frequently
limit the visits, and they look at consistency and progress to determine
of financial support
You will find that a very high percentage of private clinics do not accept direct insurance payment for services.
This is due to a number of factors, the least of which is that many insurances policies do not cover the rates that clinics and clinicians charge. Additionally many insurance companies will not allow the clinic to collect the balance from the client.
This is further complicated by the long waiting period required for the insurance company to remit payment to a clinic or clinician (usually 90 to 120 days.)
There are many other reasons clinics or clinicians do not interface with insurance companies including the complex rules regarding the appropriateness of therapy, the number of reports required and the difficulty in negotiating the maze of insurance procedures.
At Children's Speech Care Center we do offer comprehensive assistance for the family that wants to take advantage of their insurance.
About 40% of our families
choose this method.
of Insurance Coverage
We will cover the details of insurance coverage in this section in detail, but first, we offer an important word of caution.
Unfortunately, it is our observation that more and more insurance companies are severely limiting treatment for speech and language deficits. Some will not cover them at all.
When treatment is covered, a veritable minefield of conditions must be carefully negotiated.
The number one task for parents is to UNDERSTAND their specific policy and what is included or excluded with regard to speech and language treatment.
Insurance policies can be difficult to understand, so if you need assistance, consult your program administrator or insurance broker.
Once you have determined whether your policy covers speech and language therapy, you will need to determine the extent of your coverage. That is how long you will be covered.
Policies vary considerably on this issue, so you must be very care to investigate this completely.
We will cover the
specific conditions under which insurance companies will not cover speech
and language difficulties in the next section.
and the Public School System
There are many good speech and language programs in the school system.
You should educate yourself on the procedures regarding special education and IEPs. To get your child special programs or services in the schools requires knowledge of the system and procedures specific to your district.
As with any program, it will work best if you visit with your child’s therapist and stay connected with the therapy process. The parent should take the responsibility to ask questions and seek education and advice on their child’s condition. Parents should know if their child is receiving group and/or individual therapy, and follow up on how the particular service delivery model is working. Parents need to take the responsibility to follow up with the IEP goals and discuss with their clinician how goals are being met, and ways they can facilitate the therapy process. As with any setting, they should also discuss methods being taken for therapy and generalization. Further, if your child is receiving private therapy, therapists in both settings should collaborate.
The school system generally offers therapy during the school year. If your child is enrolled in summer school, they will also receive therapy for that period of time. This is called the extended school year. Generally, therapy is not offered in the month of August.
Given the size of
caseloads and demands on therapists’ time, the school system
makes an excellent effort in treating the large population of children
We are not aware of any private (Non-Special Education) schools with on staff speech-language pathologists. But this does not mean they don't exist. You should investigate this option if your children attend a private school.
It is important to
know that if your child does attend a private school without a speech-language
pathologist on staff to provide services, the state is not obligated
to provide the same level of service to your child. You should contact
your school to determine the exact nature of the service delivery policy
regarding children in private placement. IEP and Evaluation (state
paid) services are generally provided, as well as a certain level of
staff education, but actual direct treatment may be excluded.
School Agencies (NPA) and the School System
We have provided a link to the Department of Education Internet Site (Link) including detailed information regarding "Non-Public-School Agencies" (NPA) for your review of specific details.
In general, and with regard to payment, an NPA is a state certified private clinic agency that is entrusted with providing (in our case) speech and language services for children in the "public school" sector who cannot be served within the means of the school they attend.
Your child must qualify for this service, and must complete the IEP process (link) first. This is a lengthy process, but its successful navigation can lead to full payment of your child speech and language therapy at our clinic, or any NPA clinic, as is appropriate.
Make sure to specify that the NPA clinic or clinician you select is CERTIFIED by the state. This ensures that the agency or individual has gone through an entire process, which assures certain levels of standards and staff and agency inspection. For example, certification requires not only fingerprinting but an FBI and Department of Justice background check. It requires a fire inspection of the premises, emergency preparedness plans, and other specific and monitored safety regulations enacted to completely safeguard your child.
Additionally, this NPA certification must be renewed each year.
Children' Speech Care Center is a certified NPA and a copy of the Certification document is posted in our lobby.
Unlike insurance compensation, the term of assistance for NPA is limited only to the time mutually agreed to by you and the school district. This is a very worthwhile avenue to pursue, and under very special conditions, it is possible that your child may qualify for NPA assistance.
Basically NPA means that an “outside-the-school-system” agency is allowed to treat children that for some reason cannot be appropriately be treated at the school they attend. There are several reasons why this may occur. For example, the district may not have enough speech pathologists to provide services at your school.
Getting your child qualified generally falls into two categories, simple and very complex. The circumstances cannot be fully explored here and we recommend you explore this option with your school and/or clinic or consulting agency. At times other resources, such as the internet, other parents/parent groups (geared to educate parents on disabilities and educational options), a professional advocate or a specialized attorney, may be helpful in assisting you in the investigation of this option and the determination of the appropriateness of its exploration.
The Regional Centers
are private, not-for-profit corporations contracting with the State of
California for the provision of services to persons with developmental
disabilities pursuant to the Lanterman Act.
The following is a quote from www.hddf.com. "Any person believed to be developmentally disabled (mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or other handicapping condition found to be closely related to mental retardation or to require similar care) is eligible to receive free diagnosis and assessment services. In order to be eligible for on-going services, the person must be found to have a developmental disability which occurred prior to the age of eighteen and which constitutes a substantial handicap. In addition, early intervention services can be provided to infants between birth and three years of age who are believed to be at high risk of having a developmental disability. Further, pre-natal diagnosis and other genetic counseling services can be provided to pregnant women who are believed to be at risk of giving birth to a child with a developmental disability."
As you can see, this can be a very valuable resource for you. We strongly suggest that you visit the site above to gain a better understanding of how the Regional Center works.
As mentioned earlier, they can provide an evaluation free of charge. However, they do not provide speech and language therapy directly, but they do refer and contract out for these services.
Our clinic is contracted to provide speech/language and social skill group services for the local Regional Centers. If you qualify and would like Children’s Speech Care Center to provide therapy, simply inform your caseworker. Please keep in mind that we do have a limited number of spots available for private therapy. Our Social Skills/Play Groups are much more flexible and are forming all the time.
There are limitations and requirements that must be met and you should consult with a caseworker to find out your child's eligibility for services.
The Regional Centers http://www.arcanet.org/index.htm are a very good community resource. By visiting their Website, you can conduct research at the various locations. The above site will provide the names, locations, and areas served by the local Regional Centers.
Children's Speech Care Center has seen children from the following Regional Centers:
Harbor Regional Center:
your child in a Regional Center
Generally, the population we see at our clinic for individual speech/language services for the Regional Centers ranges from birth to three years of age. The children we see for Social Skills Groups that are funded by Regional centers are typically between the ages of four to twelve years.
However, the population served by the Regional Centers through other organizations is broader than this and includes adults.
In our case Regional
Center pays 100% of the cost of therapy so long as your child qualifies.
For information on qualification and further information, please visit
the individual sites of any Regional Center that is located closest to
There are alternative avenues of help. Locating these may prove to be a challenge. We suggest that you consult with the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and even internet sites for useful tips on how to receive financial assistance for various diagnoses, specific areas, etc.
Some of these agencies can point you to special funds and scholarships that have been set-up to help children with various difficulties.
At this writing, we are in the process of negotiating arrangements with a local financial institution to provide loans to parents who qualify for assistance.
You may wish to contact Bob Alba, our Director of Operations, and check the status of this project or obtain a financial assistance application from him.