Assessment and Treatment of Speech and Language Difficulties
Parents will be requested to fill in a questionnaire and the clinician will also ask questions
throughout the assessment to help achieve a complete picture of the client. Formal and
informal assessment materials are used in order to determine the nature and
extent of the communication disorder.
Assessments will vary in length depending on the areas of concern and the age of the child.
It is sometimes best to divide the assessment over two sessions. You will be advised of
the approximate length of time to allow for the assessment when you phone to make an
If a Speech Pathology assessment has already been completed within the past 12 months, a screening assessment is usually all that is required as opposed to a full standardised assessment. Please note however that if a school is requiring an updated assessment report to assist them in applying for support funding, a full assessment will need to be undertaken.
A comprehensive formal report summarises the assessment methods used, the results of the assessment, as well as recommendations and goals for intervention.
During this type of session, areas of weakness identified in the initial consultation and assessment sessions are specifically targeted through activities designed to strengthen these areas. The client's progress will be monitored and discussed. Recommendations are made regarding methods of strengthening the areas of weakness identified during the initial consultation and assessment and activities/ exercises for home practice may be given.
The number of appointments required will vary depending on the nature and severity of the communication difficulties identified, the client's "stimulability" for correct productions (that is, how easy it is to achieve the therapy targets correctly), and the amount and quality of practice done between therapy appointments.
As a part of intervention, progress is monitored regularly. This identifies how a client is responding to therapy and assists with setting further goals. There are times however when a formal review report is required by an educational insitution or health/medical professional. A full review assessment would then be undertaken and a formal comprehensive written report detailing therapy and progress would be provided.
Fees vary depending on the nature of the assessment and duration of treatment sessions. Please feel free to contact Joanne directly regarding the current fee schedule for assessment and ongoing treatment.
There will be a fee for the initial assessment and report based on service type, not time, and a separate fee per treatment session based on time.
As a service to her valued clients, Joanne currently does not bill for: phone calls with you or other professionals on behalf of your child, writing letters, referrals and other administration activities (unlike your lawyer or accountant).
When considering the costs, remember that you are paying for assessment and intervention services provided by a clinician with undergraduate and postgraduate university degrees and now over 33 years of experience and knowledge. You are also accessing resources (therapy materials, standardised tests and record forms, etc.) Even more importantly, you are investing in your child's future and dealing with issues earlier than later.
Private Health Funds
Speech pathology services in Australia are covered by private health insurance extras. Health Insurance policies vary and we suggest that you check with your insurer to determine the rebate you may be entitled to claim. Please note that speech pathology services are GST exempt. You do not need a GP referral to claim from your private health fund, and in spite of what some health funds may claim, there is no such thing as a preferred Speech Pathology provider - the fund will rebate the same amount to any Speech Pathologist of your choosing as long as they have current membership of Speech Pathology Australia and a Provider Number.
Medicare Rebate - Chronic Disease Management Plan
Joanne Duncum is a registered provider with Medicare.
In some cases, Medicare rebates are available under the Chronic Disease Management Plan Referral for Allied Health Services. Not everyone who is a Medicare card holder will be eligible. A Chronic Disease Management Plan is prepared by your General Practitioner (GP) only when the client has ongoing, complex care needs and/or chronic medical conditions that are likely to be present for at least 6 months and need to be managed by a multidisciplinary team. This team would typically include your GP and 2 or more health care providers, one of which may be your speech pathologist. This team would be responsible for managing and monitoring the client’s care needs such as a recently diagnosed expressive and receptive language delay or speech sound disorder that make it difficult for the client to communicate effectively.
Eligibility can only be determined by your GP, who may request an assessment report as an initial step.
Your GP will first prepare a GP Management Plan and Team Care Arrangements which you will be required to sign. The GP will lodge these on the Medicare database and then write up a referral to the speech pathologist using a CDM Referral Form for Allied Health Services under Medicare. Your GP nominates the number of sessions up to a maximum of 5 per calendar year. Please note: The five sessions are per client, not five sessions per allied health professional, and may be across a number of allied health professionals (e.g., three with a speech pathologist and two with an occupational therapist). The allocation of sessions is best discussed with your GP during the referral process.
The client must provide the speech pathologist with the referral form prior to commencing their next session.
Medicare has a number of requirements involving this referral form:
The referral form must be specifically addressed to Joanne Duncum, Speech Pathologist
The form must include important information required by Medicare for you to make a successful claim
A written acknowledgement of receipt of the referral form is to be sent by the speech pathologist to the GP after the initial session and a notification of completion of the referral is to be sent after the final session
The speech pathologist must retain this referral form for 2 years
Medicare may conduct an audit to confirm the validity of the referral at any time during that period
As you can see, the referral form is essential if you want your Medicare rebate claims to be successful, so please keep it safe until you hand it to your speech pathologist. If it is lost you will not be able to access Medicare rebates until you organise a replacement with your GP.
The current rebate is $53.80. (as of July 2019) for each of 5 sessions per calendar year. Services are not bulk billed. Therapy and assessment fees are more than the rebate amount and need to be paid in full as per usual at the time of the appointment. You will be left with a small out of pocket expense from each CDM session, however these expenses will count towards your Medicare safety net.
You will then be able to take your receipts for up to 5 sessions to Medicare and claim your rebate, or claim through the Medicare app.
In order to receive rebated services there are a number of terms and conditions which you will be required to sign, at, or prior to, the first of those sessions.