$100 OFF course registration (final discount), TheraBite giveaway, and information about insurance issues with jaw mobility devices...
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Want to Win a Free TheraBite?
SLPs who register in the month of September for the ARK-J Program Trismus Intervention Certification Course will be placed in a drawing to win a free TheraBite, courtesy of one of our course vendors, 
Atos Medical!
Register Now

Who will pay for my trismus patient's device?

This scenario is increasingly becoming the norm in our profession:
A SLP has conducted the evaluation, determined that maximal jaw opening is below functional limits, justified treatment in her evaluation report, and has the signed physician order. Her patient needs a jaw mobility device, among other jaw ROM tools, before trismus therapy can commence. Regardless of whether her facility refuses to pay for the patient's device, her patient's insurance denies coverage of the device, or her patient does not have the financial ability to pay for the device himself, the SLP cannot provide effective trismus therapy without the proper tools. In desperation, the SLP resorts to stacked tongue depressors, but her patient's mouth opening improves very little.

If patients are at-risk for serious medical complications as a result of trismus, such as compromised airway, malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia, increased dental problems, and chronic pain, why do insurance companies routinely deny claims for an essential component of trismus rehabilitation: the jaw mobility device? Many patient factors may explain reasons for claim denials, but based on the denials our patients have received from insurance companies, we have noted two main reasons:
  • Despite the fact that trismus can be a lifelong condition, insurance companies do not want to purchase an expensive device that may or may not be used,  insurance companies seem to prefer renting devices (such as the Jaw DynaSplint System). This rationale is more business-minded than patient-centered. 
  • Insurance companies see food as food and do not place importance or priorities on the various levels of diet consistency. Ultimately, the insurance is concerned about whether this patient is consuming nutrition, one way or another. 
What can SLPs do when the patient's claim is denied?

When a patient does not have access to a jaw mobility device, SLPs need to become carefully resourceful. In other words, SLPs must use caution in the selection of alternatives by ensuring they will not compromise the patient's safety and comfort or the effectiveness of trismus therapy.

If stacked tongue depressors may do more harm than good to the patient, are unable to be calibrated, and cannot provide uniform passive jaw stretching like other devices on the market (Shulman et. al, 2008), what other option is available to SLPs?

At the ARK-J Program Trismus Intervention Certification Course this October, Brian Kanapkey, a SLP who has worked with head and neck cancer patients in the ENT medical setting for the past 15 years, has co-developed (with CCC-SLP, Byron Kubik) an inexpensive, easy-to-make, more effective alternative to the stacked tongue depressor technique. Brian's and Byron's device, called the ARK-J Stretching Device, has proven to be more comfortable and dynamic to the patient, reducing the risk of TMJ and musculature injuries. At the course, we will show participants how to make this progressive therapy tool with medical supplies that are easily found in their facilities. The ARK-J Stretching Device will provide SLPs with a cheap, calibrated, passive jaw mobility tool so that patients who are unable to afford effective devices such as TheraBite, OraStretch, DynaSplint, and the JawClamp, can participate in the trismus therapy they so desperately need from SLPs. 
Don't miss out on our final discount of the year--$299 and the drawing for a FREE Therabite!
SLPs who register for the course in the month of September will be able to take advantage of our final and biggest course
discounted rate of the year:

Also, answer the brief survey on our course homepage to receive your discount code and be placed in a drawing for a FREE TheraBite, courtesy of one of our vendors,
Atos Medical!
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The ARK-J Program · 9304 Sevillanos Walk · Raleigh, NC 27617 · USA

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