State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology FAQ's-Licensed Assistants and Supervisors

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The State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology’s Frequently Asked Questions are currently under review, and some have been removed pending review. We appreciate your patience in the interim.

DISCLAIMER NOTICE: The Frequently Asked Questions are intended to reduce call volume and to provide a quick reference and starting point for answering common questions from applicants and licensees, as well as the general public and clients of licensees. However, they do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for, nor do they override or supersede, current and applicable statutes and rules governing licensure and practice in the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in Texas. These laws include Texas Occupations Code Chapter 401, governing Speech-Language Pathologists, Audiologists and others regulated under that Statute, which can be found at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/OC/htm/OC.401.htm, and rules adopted under that statute, which can be found in their official and most current form at http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=3&ti=22&pt=32 (22 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 741), and are available on the Board’s website in word format. Persons regulated under these provisions are responsible for full compliance with all applicable provisions in their current form and may not rely on any Frequently Asked Question or response from Board members or staff to excuse noncompliance. Always review all applicable provisions in their current form for current and complete information about applicable requirements.

My current place of employment needs to hire more therapists and wants to hire an assistant to be supervised by an SLP who will ONLY be completing direct & indirect supervision for this assistant & provide initial contact for her caseload. Can this assistant treat the patients that I evaluate/reevaluate after her supervisor provides initial contact?

Yes; HOWEVER, the Supervisor needs to remember it is her caseload and if she does not believe her assistant can provide therapy to a patient that you have evaluated, then she is not to assign that patient to her assistant.

I had problems this year getting my assistant's license when the school year began. Is the school district exempt from the law when employing a licensed assistant?

No, licensed assistants are not exempt from the law because they are employed by a school district. Preparation could be made by assigning licensed assistants to supervisors before the school term begins. This would facilitate the board office processing of applications and documentation of supervisors and help avoid any backlog that may develop at the start of the school term.

I have agreed to supervise one intern and two assistants; however, one of them can't find her license and another hasn't filed the appropriate papers identifying me as the supervisor. My supervisor told me to begin supervising and the two people could provide the necessary paperwork later. Can I do this?

No. Board Rules require that you have proof that the intern or assistant has a valid license and has submitted the appropriate form naming you as the supervisor. The Board shall initiate disciplinary actions against both you and the intern or assistant should Board Rules be violated.

I have taken a job in a school district where I am the only licensed SLP. How many assistants am I allowed to supervise?

A licensed SLP is allowed to supervise no more than a total of four assistants and/or interns. While the rules allow an SLP to supervise as many as four individuals, the licensed SLP retains responsibility for the entire caseload when supervising assistants, so this factor must be considered in determining a reasonable number of assistants.

An assistant has two different jobs and different supervisors at each job. One job is full time and the other part time. Must each licensed speech-language pathologist who assumed the responsibility for the assistant's practice submit a supervisory responsibility statement? What is the minimum amount of supervision required for the full time position versus the half time position as described?

Each supervisor must submit the supervisory responsibility statement and receive approval from the Board office. In response to the second question: For the part-time position as well as the full-time position, the minimum supervision of a licensed assistant is still two hours per week (1 hour of direct on-site and 1 hour of indirect). Please note that this is the minimum amount of supervision. The supervisor must determine if the assistant requires more than the two hours of supervision per week.

Could the required minimum two hours per week of supervision be reduced for licensed assistants who have practiced for more than one year? Also, what about the assistant who holds a master's degree in communication disorders and has completed the post-graduate experience but has been unable to pass the examination for full licensure? Shouldn't this assistant be allowed to practice without as much supervision as the assistant with only a baccalaureate degree?

The two hours per week of supervision is the minimum and this minimum must be maintained as long as the assistant holds the license, regardless of the level of education. A licensed assistant who has little or no experience may require much more than two hours of supervision per week at first. Once the supervisor is confident in the assistant's ability to perform specific tasks, the amount of supervision may decrease, but can never be less than the two hours per week, regardless of the assistant’s education level.

May an assistant conduct evaluations under supervision?

No. An assistant may never conduct evaluations, even under direct supervision, since this is a diagnostic and decision-making activity requiring interpretation as well as determination of disability, severity, eligibility, and need for services.

Must the supervisor be present when the assistant is administering routine tests as assigned by the SLP?

The licensed speech-language pathologist need not be present when the assistant is completing the assigned tests. However, the licensed speech-language pathologist must document all services provided, as well as the training and appropriate supervision of the assistant.

I plan to supervise interns and assistants so that services may be reimbursed by Medicaid. What does "under the direction" mean?

The federal Department of Health and Human Services provided the following response:

In terms of school-based services, our interpretation of the term "under the direction" of a speech pathologist is that the speech pathologist is directly involved with the individual under his or her direction and accepts professional responsibility for actions of the personnel that he or she agrees to direct. The speech pathologist must see each patient at least once, determine the type of care to be provided, and review the patient after the treatment has begun. The speech pathologist would also need to assume professional responsibility for the services provided. Therefore, it would clearly be in the speech pathologist’s own interest to maintain close oversight of any services for which he or she agrees to assume direction. Our interpretation would be the same in clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation settings.

Relating to the above question, must the supervisor and intern or assistant be employed at the same physical location?

There is no Federal requirement that the supervisor and intern or assistant be employed by the same employer. However, the supervisor must be affiliated with the school or clinic (e.g., some type of contractual agreement or other type of formal arrangement by which the supervisor is obligated to supervise the care provided to the patients).

If I have a license to practice as an Assistant in Texas, do I refer to myself as a Speech Therapist Assistant (STA) or “SLP-A”?

No, the proper name is SLP-Assistant.

If the program at my university does not have a course in which I can obtain my clinical observation hours or clinical experience, may I get these on my own time prior to graduation? May I contact a licensed or ASHA certified SLP in the area and obtain these hours, have the licensed or ASHA certified SLP sign off on my observation or clinical experience hours, and then submit them with my application for an Assistant License?

No, you would need to have an Assistant License FIRST to obtain these hours if they were not obtained through an accredited college or university. You would need to submit the required Clinical Deficiency Plan along with the additional forms required for the Assistant application, and wait for approval from the State Board before you can begin to obtain the observation hours and clinical experience hours. Please refer to Application for an Assistant License requirements.

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Last updated November 21, 2014
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