State Leaders Share Strategies, Successes Massachusetts clinicians have gained third-party billing for independent providers from the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan. More than 80 association leaders from 39 states recently celebrated this victory and others-—and assessed their challenges—in Providence, RI, at the annual ASHA/Council of State Association Presidents (CSAP) conference. Following its usual ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   December 01, 2002
State Leaders Share Strategies, Successes
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Practice Management / Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   December 01, 2002
State Leaders Share Strategies, Successes
The ASHA Leader, December 2002, Vol. 7, 1-24. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.07122002.1
The ASHA Leader, December 2002, Vol. 7, 1-24. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.07122002.1
Massachusetts clinicians have gained third-party billing for independent providers from the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan. More than 80 association leaders from 39 states recently celebrated this victory and others-—and assessed their challenges—in Providence, RI, at the annual ASHA/Council of State Association Presidents (CSAP) conference. Following its usual format, the gathering featured two back-to-back meetings—an ASHA state policy workshop May 16–17 and the CSAP meeting May 17–18.
Session topics at the state policy workshop included funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—how to access funds through the state—the latest developments in licensure laws, the potential impact of CCC changes on state practice acts, and the implementation of Rhode Island’s early hearing detection and intervention law.
State Sen. Hanna Gallo of Rhode Island—who also works in the schools as a speech-language pathologist—addressed the group on how to influence the legislative process. (For more on Gallo, see sidebar at right.) She urged participants to learn more about how bills are developed and debated at the state level, and to make contact with decision-makers.
“You need to be involved with state legislators. They need to know who you are, what your positions are on issues, and what you expect from them,” she said. “And on the state association level, when you have bills, make sure you hire a good lobbyist and put enough money in your PAC.”
The CSAP conference focused on the theme, “Tools for Transforming Tomorrow…Together We Learn.” In her opening address, ASHA President Nancy Creaghead discussed the impact of trends in service delivery on state associations.
Michael McKinley, a professional speaker and past president of a national speakers’ association, explored successful ways to handle change in a second keynote address.
In sessions, state association leaders focused on assessing their association budgets, hiring or firing a lobbying firm, and the relationship between volunteer and hired leadership. Participants also discussed how to run a successful convention, conduct smooth meetings, and fully utilize ASHA resources.
“People came with tremendous excitement,” said CSAP President Nancy McKinley, noting that participants were interested in developing leadership and technology skills, and in connecting in new ways with audiologists.
“Our associations are stronger when the professions work closely together,” she added.
Celebrating Success
Every year, CSAP offers an open session—called “Bring, Brag and Moan”—that invites state leaders to report on the year’s successes and challenges. Some of the “brags” included advances in tuition assistance for students, licensure, accessibility legislation, hearing aid regulations, and caseload reduction.
Progress also is occurring in expanding services and third-party billing to insurance carriers. In many cases, services may be covered, but the providers who offer them may be severely restricted.
Norraine Wylonis, president of the Massachusetts Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA), told her colleagues about a victory in gaining third-party billing for independent providers from the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan.
For years in Massachusetts, only hospital or physician office-based SLPs or audiologists could provide covered services. Through MSHA, a bill was repeatedly introduced requiring private health plans to allow licensed practitioners to become providers if their license included the service of the benefit.
After years of vigorous lobbying—including a year when the governor vetoed the bill—MSHA was successful. Now a licensed and ASHA-certified SLP or audiologist can provide a covered service as a private practitioner.
“This is a major victory, because Blue Cross Blue Shield is such a big player. People needing services can now go to any provider in the state,” Wylonis said, adding that the insurers cannot restrict the length of the benefit if the service is considered a medical necessity.
For more information on state associations, visit http://www.asha.org/ and click on “About ASHA” and “Legislation & Advocacy” to access state contact information. For information on CSAP, visit http://www.csap.org/.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2002
Volume 7, Issue 12