Congress Boosts Funding for Key Federal Programs Federal Increases Will Flow to IDEA, Newborn Hearing Screening, Research Policy Analysis
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Policy Analysis  |   January 01, 2002
Congress Boosts Funding for Key Federal Programs
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Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis   |   January 01, 2002
Congress Boosts Funding for Key Federal Programs
The ASHA Leader, January 2002, Vol. 7, 2-15. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.07012002.2
The ASHA Leader, January 2002, Vol. 7, 2-15. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.07012002.2
As the holidays approached, Congress handed a last-minute gift to many ASHA members, including school-based speech-language pathologists, audiologists involved in newborn hearing screening, and researchers in need of funding. In late December, both houses approved an appropriations bill for programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Education (ED). President Bush is expected to sign the bill, which applies to fiscal year 2002 programs.
The past year has been “challenging” for federal legislation after the events of Sept. 11, noted Monica Ferguson, chair of ASHA’s Governmental Relations and Public Policy Board. “The fact that we got these increases is due to the hard work of members and ASHA’s presence on Capitol Hill.”
Following are highlights from the appropriations bill.
Education
School-based SLPs will be pleased to note that the new funding will apply to several parts of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Congress approved several increases for IDEA (see chart below). Continuing the recent trend of increases in IDEA Part B State Grants, Congress approved a 19% increase over 2001 funding, for a 2002 total of more than $7.5 billion. This nearly doubles the funding since IDEA’s last reauthorization.
The 2002 funding level brings the federal share to 17% of providing a free and appropriate education for children with disabilities. This still falls far short of the 40% of IDEA costs promised to be funded by Congress when the act first passed in 1975.
The Part C Infants and Toddlers program will receive a record increase of $33 million over 2001 funding, for a total of $430 million. In its advocacy efforts, ASHA stressed that Part C funding is a key component in promoting President Bush’ s early literacy programs, and that Part B increases need to be coupled with a boost in Part C to be effective.
The IDEA Part D Leadership and Personnel Preparation grant programs received a 10% increase over last year’s funding, the first increase in six years, for a total of $90 million for 2002. In lobbying, ASHA stressed that new education initiatives will dramatically increase the need for qualified personnel with specialties in communication disorders, reading, and literacy improvement.
“This is an important time for school-based practitioners to get involved, so that we can have an impact on how the new funds will be used,” Ferguson said. “SLPs must join the conversation at state and local levels on the burning issue of how to effectively teach our kids to read. This is our opportunity to make ourselves heard and to stress our vital role in early literacy development.”
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program was increased from $14.3 million to $17.1 million. Fiscal year 2002 will be the third and final year of the program, and the new funding level exceeds the original goal of $15 million set by Congress when it created the program in 1999.
“We’ve had tremendous victories in our infant screening programs,” Ferguson said. “Through CDC reports, we know that hospitals now screen 65% of all infants, compared to less than 20% in 1998.
“Our next challenge is to increase coverage and reimbursement for intervention programs. Up to 50% of children who are detected are not being seen again until they’re school age.”
Research Funding
Fiscal year 2002 is the fourth year of a five-year effort to double funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding will be $232.8 million, a 13% increase from 2001. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders received a double-digit increase and will be funded at $34.2 million for 2002.
For more information about grassroots advocacy, contact Linda Lucas through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4427, or by email at llucas@asha.org. For more about IDEA and NIH funding, contact Neil Snyder at ext. 4257 or by email at nsnyder@asha.org. For details on EHDI federal appropriations, contact Reed Franklin at ext. 4473 or by email at rfranklin@asha.org.
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January 2002
Volume 7, Issue 1