Special Education

Tennessee Reimburses Schools for Telepractice Services

Tennessee is one of the many states facing a shortage of qualified clinicians at schools, but recently amended legislation seeks to open the door for schools to use online therapy services.

According to a news release, the Tennessee General Assembly passed an amendment to Senate Bill 195, which makes elementary and secondary schools eligible to be reimbursed for telepractice services, such as online speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, as well as behavioral and mental health services.

The state in 2014 started providing Medicaid reimbursement for telepractice services, but only managed care organizations and school-based health clinics were ensured. Now, Tennessee elementary and secondary schools are considered qualified sites to collect Medicaid.

“Telepractice makes it possible for districts, regardless of their onsite therapist situation, to provide students with consistent, high-quality therapy services,” said Clay Whitehead, co-founder and co-CEO of online clinical services provider PresenceLearning, in the statement. PresenceLearning offers a telehealth network of live, online special education and related service providers, which Tennessee schools can now receive funding to use.