Economic Considerations

Dysphagia leads to aspiration pneumonia, which is a major cause of hospital readmissions1


  • 23.5% of Medicare beneficiaries discharged to a skilled nursing facility are re-hospitalized within 30 days.14
  • Dysphagia accounts for between 13% and 48% of all infections in skilled nursing facility residents.5
  • Mean cost for an aspiration pneumonia episode of care is $17,000.15
  • Overall mortality rate ranges from 20% to 50% with rates as high as 80% reported.5

Compensating for dysphagia with modified diets is costly


  • Providing thickened liquids is a common strategy to minimize aspiration in individuals with dysphagia.
  • The cost of thickened liquids ranges from $0.30 to $1.41 per serving.16
  • The total monthly cost for thickened liquids ranges from $174 to $289 per individual.* 

*Based upon a 74 oz. daily intake with 32% water, 32% milk, 19% juice, and 16% coffee, with nectar-thick, commercially-prepared liquids for lower extreme and honey-thick, facility-prepared liquids for higher extreme.

Lingual strengthening for improved health and quality of life

Lingual strengthening improves the ability to swallow and decreases aspiration.11

  • Decreased frequency of airway invasion
  • Increased maximum swallowing pressure
  • Increased swallowing safety

Dysphagia rehabilitation therapy requires skilled direction and oversight by a speech language pathologist, which is reimbursed by most payer sources including Medicare.

  • CPT 92526, treatment of swallowing dysfunction and/or oral function for feeding
  • CPT 92610, evaluation of oral and pharyngeal swallowing function
  • In some cases payers reimburse separately for medical devices used in dysphagia treatment

Improved quality of life7

  • Greater happiness and social engagement
  • Decreased swallowing burden
  • Elevated energy level