EWU Speech and Language Clinic Pays it Forward

May 15, 2024
Photo of educational sculptures depicting speech anatomy.

At EWU’s Speech and Language Clinic, graduate students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders work with professional speech-language pathologists to provide patients with comprehensive, evidence-based services. Now, a major change in billing practices will help even more patients benefit from the potentially life-changing therapies offered at the clinic.

Beginning this March, the clinic will no longer bill insurance for their services, instead shifting to a “pay it forward” model. The move, clinic officials say, will result in more equitable, accessible treatment options, particularly for patients of limited means.

“It fulfills our goal to provide equity in services. Even with insurance, patients are having to pay a copay,” says Asha Pence, clinic’s director. “Some of our pediatric patients with complex needs are in therapy for upwards of three years. That can be costly for so many families.”

The clinic, which accepts referrals directly from clients, physicians, educators, and other allied health service providers, sees individuals with a variety of communication needs. These range from adults with Parkinson’s to pediatric patients with communication disorders. Services include comprehensive evaluations and therapy in speech, language, and cognitive-communication. 

Graduate students working with the clinic provide services on-site in Spokane and also in community-based facilities. Students working off-campus are partnered with speech clinics in the greater Spokane area to learn about the individualized community clinic experience, and provide services there. 

“This allows us to connect directly with our community, rather than being restricted to internal work on campus,” says Pence. “We have helped alleviate some of their waitlist by assigning students, and they get to go to that community clinic and provide care,”

If you are interested in learning more about the University Speech Clinic, please visit our website.