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Speech Improvement Chapter Newsletter - February 2017

We’ve had a lot going on in our chapter since my last newsletter.

Attendance at our chapter meetings at central UFT and in the boroughs has been terrific. It is always gratifying to see all of you.

Our general membership/Executive Board meeting on Feb. 15 was well attended and we were fortunate to have UFT Special Representative Amy Arundell, an expert in personnel matters, speak about procedures and rules concerning absences, lateness and leaves of absence. Other agenda items included information on location of services, makeup sessions and information related to the Medicaid agreement The recent meeting on tenure drew more than 100 people, and our presentation on Medicaid in Education at the central UFT was also extremely well attended.

I am happy to attend your DOE monthly meetings and answer questions. Please let me know when the meeting is and I will ask your speech supervisor if I may speak.

Our Speech Survival Class begins again in early March. This is a 10-session class that covers just about everything you need to know about working in this profession in the NYC Department of Education. If you have never taken the course, or if you’d like to know more about is, please contact the speech hotline number at 212-598-7774.

Last, upon our urging, the director of related services assigned interim speech supervisors to support members — especially those who are new — in districts where supervisors are on leave. The DOE also hired several new speech supervisors. We hope all our new speech providers and speech-language pathologists will get the support and training they need.

Enjoy your break!


Mindy Karten Bornemann
Speech Improvement Chapter Leader

Nominations for Better Speech and Hearing Month awards due by March 3

We’re accepting nominations for the Better Speech and Hearing Month Awards and want your candidates to be considered. Please submit your nominations by March 3. BSHM is a true celebration of the work we do for both our members and our students.

It is extremely special for our students to be nominated and honored for the posters, poems and videos they created with your support and guidance

Nominate a colleague or a student for a Better Speech and Hearing Month Award.

If you have made a presentation in your school, for your district or at a professional conference that you’re particularly proud of, nominate yourself.

We’ll celebrate our honorees and each at our 11th Better Speech and Hearing Month celebration at the UFT on May 11. I urge you to attend and support your colleagues and students.

The Labor Management Committee-All related matters to the Medicaid Agreement

Our Speech Labor Management Committee, as per the agreement, meets each month to discuss implementation of the agreement and other items specifically outlined in the document.

The agreement states members who are licensed speech-language pathologists become eligible for the differential once they have obtained and provided their National Provider Identifier (NPI) number and Medicaid Billing or Non-Billing Identification Number to the DOE and attached this information to their record in NYCAPS.

The differential is programmed into payroll beginning the month following the completion of the affiliation. Because of the payroll lag, members can expect to see the differential in their checks approximately four to six weeks later. For example, members who entered all of their information in NYCAPS on or before Dec. 16 should have received the differential. Although there is a lag in payment, the differential is retroactive to the first day of the month following the completion of the NYCAPS affiliation.

As more members enter referrals, I’m hearing more questions about “referrals, codes, and session notes.” At our chapter meetings, I will address procedures related to per session, writing encounter attendance notes, space, Clinical Fellowship Years, mentoring and license renewal.

Per Session Hours for All SLP Speech Teachers and Speech Teachers

We anticipated that the DOE will begin implementation of the agreement on additional per session hours for SESIS work on or about Feb. 14. All providers now have 20 hours of per session to catch up on SESIS work, but there is a clear distinction between the per session work providers can do after school in the school building and at home.

Per session payment is available for any SESIS work performed in the school building but only Encounter Attendance work may be done at home for per session. You must keep track of how many hours you work. Be mindful when you report your hours that you record your time in SESIS.

The DOE sent an email to you on Feb. 17 that described these procedures in detail.An additional 20 hours of per session time will be available for SLP speech teachers and speech teacher providers who have a caseload of more than 30 students. Implementation of this portion of the new allocation will be detailed in future communications.

Issues with NYCAPS

Not everything has run as smoothly as hoped with the new NYCAPS process. Members have reported delays in obtaining non-billing numbers from Medicaid, problems with SESIS and problems with name changes. Members have reported that It takes a little more than a month to get the non billing ID from Medicaid but only a few days to receive the NPI number. No one was penalized for having to wait for the numbers and processing as long as they notified the DOE. As with any new system, the process can be challenging, but once you enter the information, you won’t have to do it again.

Use your non-DOE email to contact me about these and related issues if you do not hear from in a timely fashion. Many of the NYCAPS issues have been resolved this week so hopefully this will no longer be an issue.

Space, Supplies and Chrome Book Updates

As I mentioned above, the Labor Management Committee met on Feb. 6 to discuss the agreement. We reviewed a draft of the space and supply survey, issues related to mentoring and the distribution of Chromebooks. The DOE reported that 1,400 Chromebooks have been distributed to our SLPs and speech teacher providers as part of the Medicaid agreement. The Chromebooks are new, come with a case for traveling and are hooked up to the internet.

If you are having difficulty using your Chromebook, contact We will keep you posted on the space and supply survey and other parts of the agreement.

Medicaid In Education — Referrals, Medical Necessity — Help is on the Way

Last January, our chapter’s members packed a meeting hall at central UFT to hear Liz Truly, UFTs legal consultant on special education law and policy, present on referrals, codes and medical necessity, provider responsibilities, make-up sessions, and location of services.

She also provided an overview of the city’s school health services program, Medicaid, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Her presentation was so well received that we asked Liz to allow us to provide a link to the PowerPoint presentation. The DOE has vetted the information in this presentation.

See the presentation online.

At the end of the PowerPoint, you’ll find questions that many of you have asked and answers. I hope you’ll find it useful.

The DOE is now working on getting a special speaker for us who will discuss codes and referrals and other aspects of Medicaid. I’ll keep you posted. We have been urging the DOE to get a speaker and provide more information because our members want it and need it.

Shortage Area Issues

This year, due to changes in the shortage area procedures implemented by the DOE, our chapter’s hotline soon began to receive calls from members regarding non payment of shortage area compensation.

We immediately set up meetings with the Office of Related Services to resolve the issues. ORS did its best but was unable to fix all the issues. Chapter members are advised to the UFT borough office and file payroll grievances; if you do, please send me an email with your name, district, file number, school, the number of periods you are working and the start date. If you have difficulty filing a grievance, please email me immediately. In addition, if you work in a high school, check your paycheck to see if you were paid during Regents’ week. Please inform your supervisor you are working in the spring semester as well.

We’re taking an additional step of bringing these problems to the attention of a deputy chancellor. 

Shortage area compensation is based on a per term amount — you must work five periods per week to be eligible for the per term amount. The rate is $6,156 per term as of May 1, 2016. The rate will increase this year on May 1 to $6,436.

Please note: Anything less than five periods a week is pro-rated. Here’s the formula for pro-rated pay:

The daily rate is equal to the full-term amount ($6,156) divided by 150. (Each month has 30 days, and a term has five months, so the divisor is 150.) The pro-rated payment per term is the daily rate multiplied by the number of days worked.

IEP-mandated services: Protections in the new agreement

The DOE may not assign any speech teacher to duties that would prevent him or her from providing IEP-mandated services such as coverages, scoring exams or proctoring, except in extraordinary circumstances. Please contact our chapter if you are being given any assignment that prevents you from serving your students. Remind your administration of our agreement, document the issue, and then notify your speech supervisor and the chapter’s speech hotline as soon as possible.

Related Topics: Chapter News