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Speech Improvement News for the New Year

New York Teacher

It has been great to see so many of you at meetings about the new Medicaid agreement and SESIS settlement. It's my hope that you will continue to attend meetings and invite me to your local meetings so I can speak to you throughout the year.

Our chapter now boasts more than 3,250 members with different needs throughout the city. I will send you updates on the details of the Labor Management Committee as we meet with the DOE and the city.

At our request, the Department of Education set up mailboxes to assist you with questions on licenses, NPI numbers and Medicaid IDs, along with technology and settlement questions. The DOE usually responds within 24 hours and can also direct you to other resources and supports. If you have any general concerns or questions related to the agreement, send an email to speechquestions@schools.nyc.gov. You can also send Medicaid-related questions to Medicaidops@schools.nyc.gov.

Our assistant chapter leader, Katherine Lewis; our Brooklyn representative Brenda Caquias and our speech teacher trainer, Lisa Arian are also trying to respond to your questions at our UFT hotline and via email. Remember to contact us using your personal email address so we can respond to you directly. Do not use your DOE email for your questions, and please make sure to read all of the emails that the DOE has sent you before you contact us. It is much easier to answer a specific question than to read all of the information to you directly.

Many members believe the SESIS settlement and the decision to work with the city and DOE to help them collect Medicaid funds were done quickly and without giving adequate consideration to their concerns. We have anticipated this development for several years. As your chapter leader, I have heard and shared your worries. After you’ve read the agreement carefully, I think you will agree that it both recognizes the value of the professional credential held by our SLP Speech teachers and addresses the day-to-day needs of the speech teacher providers in our large chapter. It also will help the city bill for speech therapy through Medicaid, which has not been done for many years.

The DOE, in bargaining, insisted that all speech teachers who hold the professional license would now be required to use it. Use of your Speech-Language Pathology license is not voluntary for members who have the credential. I strongly urge you to comply with the directives you have received to obtain your NPI and non-billing Medicaid ID number. SLPs should begin to complete referrals as soon as their identification number has been affiliated in NYCAPS. We understand that obtaining your ID may take some time, but once it is done, you will receive your differential and other negotiated items. You will not be penalized for the time that it takes to get the Medicaid ID number, and the DOE assures us that it will not take more than 30 to 40 days. Speech teachers without an SLP will not be asked to do any new work under this agreement.

It is my mission to ensure that all of the aspects of this settlement are upheld and that we will benefit from the technology, improved working conditions, testing materials, improved SESIS encounter attendance, indemnity protections, per-session time, standardizing forms and evaluations. See the Q&A on the Memorandum of Agreement between the DOE and the UFT on Medicaid reimbursement for speech language therapy. In addition, we continue to work on issues related to signing in and out of classrooms, location of services, makeup sessions, speech screenings and clarifying IEP team participation requirements for students who receive other special education services.

If I haven't already met you at a meeting, it is my hope that we will see each other in the new year. I also would like to have more members involved as volunteer liaisons or serving on a committee as we monitor how this new agreement is rolling out throughout the city.

Once again, I wish you a restful new year and a great vacation.

Related Topics: Chapter News