Let's talk all things insurance, how identification works in the United States for insurance and the importance of patient consent forms in our speech and language community.
Why insurance is important
As a speech therapist, you are exposed to the possibility of legal action in respect of your legal responsibility to personal injury or property damage arising during the course of your activities. Speech therapist liability insurance can protect you against potential losses. There are three types of liability insurance:
- Public liability covers you for accidental injury or damage to a member of the public or their property caused by, or arising from, any treatment or therapy that you give during your business activities.
- Professional liability include coverage if you mis-diagnose a child causing improper medication, if your patient does not disclose medication they are on causing poor treatment or if a client fails to improve during your treatment and sues you for damages.
- Employers liability protects you against claims made in respect of your legal liability for death, disease or injury sustained by an employee during the course of their employment.
To be easily identified by insurance companies, a National Provider Identification (NPI) or Employer Identification number (EIN) will be required.
National Provider Identification
Your NPI number is way for insurance companies to easily identify you; includes the person and company who is providing the medical service.
To receive an NPI number, you must apply directly on the government’s website - you can apply for a personal number and an organisational NPI for your private practice.
The importance and use for an NPI number is that you can include it in your super bills and claim forms, so that when private patients wanting to use a Health Savings Account, can include it on supporting documentation to prove that you are a medical provider, offering a medical service. Insurance companies may get in touch with you to verify your NPI and EIN identification numbers.
Employer Identification Number
An EIN acts as your tax identification number and how insurance companies can identify you, especially when you are receiving money from them. This number needs to be included on super bills, claims, banking account details and tax files.
This can, similarly, be acquired directly through the government’s website.
To receive both the NPI and EIN identification numbers from the government is completely free, so ensure you are covered.
To learn about these identification numbers and how you can apply, read more here.
As a speech and language professional, you work confidential with health information continuously, hence before providing a medical service to an individual, it is essential to obtain a valid patient consent.
For consent to classify as valid means that the patient is well informed and voluntary, as well as having the capacity to make an informed decision. Explanation of these three important terms;
- Informed: The individual must be given of all the relevant information about the treatment being offered, including benefits, outcome and risks, alternative options and the result if treatment is not pursued
- Voluntary: The individual must not be influenced, pressured or forced. The individual must be able to make a decision to consent in their capacity.
- Capacity: Means that the individual fully understands the information given and can make a well informed decision following, meaning they are capable of giving consent.
Consent can be offered both verbally and in writing, and in some cases, consent is not required. Read more about when this is applicable.
How does Noala support you digitally?
Our digital platform is GDPR and HIPAA compliant, as well as being HCPC aligned. We are an all-in-one platform tailored for speech and language professionals, ensuring data security and easy accessibility to maintain patient documentation and keeping it up to date accordingly. We have integrated super bill invoicing, ready to send patient consent forms and can include insurance information on patient profiles.