OK, I'll be fair. I just delved into the study report itself (posted by the author here) and saw what the actual reading remediation programs were. The programs were Corrective Reading, Wilson Learning System, Spell Read Phonological Auditory Training, and Failure Free Reading (smallest sample group in the study). Per the authors, "All of these programs provided systematic and explicit instruction in word-level decoding skills. Failure Free Reading focuses on developing recognition of words by sight, while the other three programs emphasize phonemic decoding." So, one of the four remediation programs used was not phonics; but, it wasn't whole language, either!
What's interesting to me is that Failure Free Reading, while emphasizing decoding at the word level and eschewing phonics, apparently brought about an improvement in phonological decoding skills in this study. What mechanism makes that happen? I'd love to see the curriculum itself to see how it facilitates development of phonological decoding ability.