One New Year’s Resolution to Keep: Advocate for Fair Reimbursement Through the STAR Network For some of you, those personal New Year’s resolutions have already been forgotten. While goals to lose weight, quit smoking, or spend less may have fallen by the wayside, you can’t afford to forget about your professional resolutions because they can make a positive difference to a lot of people. ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   March 01, 2005
One New Year’s Resolution to Keep: Advocate for Fair Reimbursement Through the STAR Network
Author Notes
  • Cynthia Jacobsen, is the Kansas STAR representative and director of the Hearing and Speech Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City). Contact her at cjacobsen@cmh.edu.
    Cynthia Jacobsen, is the Kansas STAR representative and director of the Hearing and Speech Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City). Contact her at cjacobsen@cmh.edu.×
  • Maureen Thompson, is ASHA’s director of private health plan advocacy and coordinator of the STAR Network. Contact her at mthompson@asha.org.
    Maureen Thompson, is ASHA’s director of private health plan advocacy and coordinator of the STAR Network. Contact her at mthompson@asha.org.×
Article Information
Practice Management / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   March 01, 2005
One New Year’s Resolution to Keep: Advocate for Fair Reimbursement Through the STAR Network
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 2-14. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.10032005.2
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 2-14. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.10032005.2
For some of you, those personal New Year’s resolutions have already been forgotten. While goals to lose weight, quit smoking, or spend less may have fallen by the wayside, you can’t afford to forget about your professional resolutions because they can make a positive difference to a lot of people. What are your professional goals this year?
Do you want to increase the visibility of your profession? Enhance reimbursement advocacy in your state? Enjoy enhanced professional recognition and satisfaction? If the answer is yes, lend a helping hand to ASHA’s State Advocates for Reimbursement (STAR) network. The STAR network is ASHA-member audiologists and speech-language pathologists who are willing to advocate locally with legislators, state insurance commissioners, health plans, unions, and employers on matters related to private health plan reimbursement. They share their advocacy skills and help create coverage and reimbursement strategies with state associations. They are the link between your state and ASHA.
STAR members are a network in the true sense of the word-they are eager and willing to offer assistance, share information, and seek solutions to the reimbursement issues that challenge the financial viability of our professions.
So what does STAR hope to achieve? Our mission is to advocate for consistent coverage and equitable reimbursement rates by private payers for speech-language pathology and audiology services. Forty-four states are represented in the network and STAR representatives must be able to count on you-our colleagues-to work with us to effect change in the private health plan system. We can’t do it alone.
Regardless of where your private health plan concerns lie-with developing contracts, calculating appropriate fees, or obtaining “qualified provider” status, when you join forces with your STAR rep and other state association colleagues you will facilitate positive change.
Teamwork is essential. Each of you knows how to communicate effectively. You are uniquely positioned to take on this challenge, improve reimbursement for our services, and work with your patients and families to ensure that, on a state level, decision-makers value the professions.
You may ask, “How can I possibly make a difference?” To begin with, you can share stories of positive patient outcomes with legislators and decision makers or educate payers as to the cost effectiveness of speech, language, and hearing services. Your stories will demonstrate that speech, language, and hearing treatment leads to positive outcomes. You owe it to yourself, your patients, and your profession to make a long-lasting commitment. Meet with your STAR representative and select one issue to focus on-coverage of speech and language treatment for apraxia for example, or pediatric hearing aid coverage by a large employer in your state.
The next step is gathering consumer education materials available from ASHA. Provide families with step-by-step instructions on contacting key decision-makers in your state. Meet with these key people on the state level and offer to be a resource regarding the needs of their constituents with communication disorders. If several of your patients contacted key decision makers in your state each week, administrators and legislators would pay close attention.
After all, America’s historic civil rights movement began with a small nucleus of committed people. Their members set goals, developed plans, stayed flexible, and kept their eyes “on the prize.” In the beginning, goals were limited and grew with each success.
While at times we may question the most effective methods for achieving comprehensive coverage of and reimbursement for our services; as we each work in our states to achieve change and share our successful strategies, we will find ways to achieve real and lasting results.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
March 2005
Volume 10, Issue 3