Advocacy Protects Credentials in Maine As a result of strong advocacy by the Maine Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSLHA) and ASHA, school-based speech-language pathologists in Maine are less worried about unqualified clinicians providing speech and language services to MaineCare clients. Last spring, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) passed a rule change that would ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   June 01, 2011
Advocacy Protects Credentials in Maine
Author Notes
  • Michael Towey, MA, CCC-SLP, a clinician at Waldo County General Hospital (Belfast, Maine) and past MSLHA president, can be reached at speech@wcgh.org.
    Michael Towey, MA, CCC-SLP, a clinician at Waldo County General Hospital (Belfast, Maine) and past MSLHA president, can be reached at speech@wcgh.org.×
    Susan Adams, JD, director of state regulatory and legislative advocacy, can be reached at sadams@asha.org.
    Susan Adams, JD, director of state regulatory and legislative advocacy, can be reached at sadams@asha.org.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   June 01, 2011
Advocacy Protects Credentials in Maine
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 1-6. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.16062011.1
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 1-6. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.16062011.1
As a result of strong advocacy by the Maine Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSLHA) and ASHA, school-based speech-language pathologists in Maine are less worried about unqualified clinicians providing speech and language services to MaineCare clients.
Last spring, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) passed a rule change that would allow “speech and language clinicians,” who hold a Certificate 293 issued by the Maine Department of Education (DOE), to bill MaineCare—the state's Medicaid program—for services in schools. Speech and language clinicians do not need state licensure to work in Maine schools.
MSLHA provided written comments opposing the change, but the testimony was not considered. After the rule went into effect last fall, members in Maine flooded ASHA with calls expressing concern about Certificate 293 holders. In response, Tommie Robinson Jr., 2010 ASHA president, sent a letter to the DOE and the DHHS stating that Certificate 293 holders are not necessarily qualified service providers under the regulations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and could not, therefore, bill MaineCare for services provided in schools. ASHA also contacted individual school districts in the state with the same information.
MSLHA representatives, with the help of state Sen. Mike Thibodeau, were able to speak directly with the director of the MaineCare Services Policy Division in January; she stated that the rule change was based on information provided by DOE that the Certificate 293 was equivalent to state licensure. A review by the state attorney general's office concurred with the DOE communication.
MSLHA, with assistance from ASHA, compiled a side-by-side comparison of the Maine regulations and the federal law and forwarded the information to DHHS. The policy director then completed another review and issued a technical rule change to amend the regulations, clarifying that speech and language clinicians holding a Certificate 293, but not licensed by the state of Maine, are not qualified providers of MaineCare services. This rule change ensures compliance with 42 CFR § 440.110, the federal regulation requiring that SLPs delivering medically necessary services in all settings, including schools, meet state licensure requirements or have completed educational and work requirements equivalent to those required for the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence.
The advocacy by MSLHA and ASHA not only ensured that only SLPs with proper credentials will deliver services to MaineCare clients in schools, but also likely saved the state from paying federal penalties for failure to adhere to Medicaid regulations.
For more information about MSLHA, contact Sarah Shorette, president, at president@mslha.org.
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June 2011
Volume 16, Issue 6