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Pediatric teletherapy provider DotCom Therapy is approved to accept Medicaid in Wisconsin through the BadgerCare Plus program.

It’s a milestone for the company, which provides speech, behavioral and occupational therapy via video conferencing. In the past, DotCom has only worked with commercial insurers and schools. It is currently in 41 states, partners with 400 schools and works with 13 commercial payers.

The company wanted to accept Medicaid so it could reach low-income children. DotCom, based in Madison, Wis., decided to start in its home state with the BadgerCare Plus program, which covers about a third of all children in Wisconsin, said Rachel Mack Robinson, president and founder of DotCom.

“If you think about barriers to care, you have affordability and affordability,” Robinson said. “We’re getting rid of the accessibility barrier through teletherapy. And we’re trying to break down that barrier to affordability by working with Medicaid.”

For kids who don’t have proper access to technology, the company has a device loan program. DotCom also helps patients find technology through resources in their community, such as libraries, which may offer free devices and Wi-Fi.

While it’s starting in Wisconsin, DotCom is working to adopt Medicaid in other states in the future.

Contracting with both schools and health plans is what sets DotCom apart from competitors, Robinson said. Pediatric teletherapy in schools companies include Attendance training and eLumawhile groups that work with parents’ employers or health plans Iinclude Brightline and hoppy. And those who accept Medicaid are rare, she said. There is one Cheers to Charlie, which offers virtual behavioral health care. But DotCom differs because it provides speech and occupational therapy in addition to behavioral therapy, Robinson said.

“When we first entered the market, we worked with them [Kindergarten through 12th-grade] schools,” Robinson said. “But we know those needs exist outside the school walls.”

All of DotCom’s therapists are W-2 employees, making retention rates higher and easier to enroll in various health plans, said Bridget Krueger, the company’s chief development officer. The retention rate is 97%. High retention is key because employee turnover creates a lot of administrative work not only for the provider but also for Medicaid, Krueger added. That helped DotCom secure a Medicaid contract, she said.

The administrative burden is likely what has kept other pediatric teletherapy providers from accepting Medicaid.

“There are many factors that have likely prevented other pediatric teletherapy companies from accepting Medicaid — from reimbursement rates to administrative red tape …” said Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, former chief medical officer of the U.S. Medicaid program, in news release. “DotCom Therapy is lighting the way and creating a path for others to follow that can help improve the well-being of children and families across the country by making it easier to get care when and where it’s best for them.”

Photo: Alyssa Zakhoruyko, Getty Images

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