ASHA News: Reimbursement, Education Legislation Top Advocacy Agenda Medicare reimbursement and federal education legislation will be the focus of ASHA’s 2014 federal advocacy efforts, according to the association’s 2014 public policy agenda. The Government Relations and Public Policy Board and ASHA staff developed the agenda (on.asha.org/ppa2014), which sets the blueprint for advocacy activities, with input from more ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   January 01, 2014
ASHA News: Reimbursement, Education Legislation Top Advocacy Agenda
Author Notes
  • George Lyons Jr., JD, MBA, is ASHA director of government relations and public policy. ·glyons@asha.org
    George Lyons Jr., JD, MBA, is ASHA director of government relations and public policy. ·glyons@asha.org×
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Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   January 01, 2014
ASHA News: Reimbursement, Education Legislation Top Advocacy Agenda
The ASHA Leader, January 2014, Vol. 19, 60. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.19012014.60
The ASHA Leader, January 2014, Vol. 19, 60. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.19012014.60
Reimbursement, Education Legislation Top Advocacy Agenda
Medicare reimbursement and federal education legislation will be the focus of ASHA’s 2014 federal advocacy efforts, according to the association’s 2014 public policy agenda.
The Government Relations and Public Policy Board and ASHA staff developed the agenda (on.asha.org/ppa2014), which sets the blueprint for advocacy activities, with input from more than 1,500 ASHA members and groups that responded to a survey.
The 12 broad issues on the agenda are not ranked, giving staff flexibility to address events and legislation as they arise. The issues fall into one of three categories: federal topics, topics related to federal and state advocacy, and state concerns.
Federal issues
Advocacy on federal-only issues will focus on equitable Medicare reimbursement for audiologists and speech-language pathologists and coverage of audiology and speech-language pathology services for Medicare beneficiaries. Support for alternative Medicare payment policies for outpatient therapy services and a comprehensive audiology Medicare benefit are included in this issue.
Federal education issues include reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act; inclusion and funding of speech, language, literacy, and hearing services and devices in all federal legislation; use of the term “highest qualified provider” in ESEA and IDEA; inclusion of SLPs in federal literacy policies; and inclusion of SLPs and audiologists in provisions of the Higher Education Act.
Federal/state issues
Several issues are regulated by state and federal agencies, and require advocacy at both levels:
 
  • School-based services—staff shortages, increased paperwork, greater workload demands, and appropriate accountability and evaluation measures for specialized instructional support personnel.

  • Hearing health care services and devices—hearing aid tax credit legislation; regulations on the sale and advertising of hearing aids and personal sound amplification products; acoustical environment standards; and comprehensive hearing health care services for children, including implementation of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program, adoption of state hearing screening standards for school-aged children, and insurance mandates for hearing aids and cochlear implants.

  • Affordable Care Act and Medicaid reimbursement and coverage policies—state adoption of ACA requirements for essential health benefits to include habilitative and rehabilitative services and devices provided by audiologists and SLPs; Medicaid coverage of services provided by audiologists and SLPs, including funding for the federal Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program and reimbursement for hearing aids, cochlear implants, and augmentative and alternative communication devices.

  • Private health plan coverage of speech-language and hearing services and regulations that allow telepractice reimbursement.

State issues
State-level issues include strategies to increase recruitment and retention of audiologists and SLPs through student financial aid and loan forgiveness; comprehensive licensure in all states, which would allow members to practice in any setting and across state lines; model licensing language and implementation of a service continuum that includes assistants; and the use of audiologists and SLPs as employees and/or consultants to state agencies. Image Not Available
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January 2014
Volume 19, Issue 1