Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association Website: www.wisha.org Facebook: Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association Established: 1950 Members: 660 Contact: Mary Bahr Schwenke, president, president@wisha.org or 920.560.5642 WSHA closely monitors legislation in the state and informs and motivates advocates to support our members’ interests. We provide leadership and support for Wisconsin audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and ... State Spotlight
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State Spotlight  |   July 01, 2015
Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / State Spotlight
State Spotlight   |   July 01, 2015
Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association
The ASHA Leader, July 2015, Vol. 20, 68. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.20072015.68
The ASHA Leader, July 2015, Vol. 20, 68. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.20072015.68
Website: www.wisha.org
Facebook: Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association
Established: 1950
Members: 660
Contact: Mary Bahr Schwenke, president, president@wisha.org or 920.560.5642
How are you making a difference in your members’ professional lives?
WSHA closely monitors legislation in the state and informs and motivates advocates to support our members’ interests. We provide leadership and support for Wisconsin audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language and hearing scientists through advocacy, education and public awareness. Our annual audiology-focused conference and statewide convention provide premier professional development and statewide networking opportunities. Our ongoing communication keeps members abreast of state and national legislative and professional issues.
What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in your state today?
Workforce issues. WSHA received two ASHA Pathways to Excellence Grants to inform and advocate for the highest-qualified provider of speech-language services in the schools. WSHA participated in statewide education task-force groups to educate, advocate and inform stakeholders and colleagues about the roles and responsibilities of SLPs in the schools, develop and disseminate guidance documents, and collect reliable and valid data that would lead to school district guidance related to SLPs.
WSHA is exploring universal licensure and moving toward license consolidation to decrease vacancies, protect consumers, and define licensing, credentialing and competency requirements. We continue to advocate for lowered state licensure fees, which are double that of comparable professions: Current fee revenues exceed the costs of regulating the professions.
WSHA has launched a new website that supports the creation of member profiles, and sponsors forums and a robust Career Center to support the recruitment of professionals.
Reimbursement issues. An ad hoc committee on prior authorization has been active with a coalition of other therapy and provider groups and with two large health systems. In ongoing meetings with the Department of Health Services and members of the legislature, WSHA and the coalition are working to reduce the need for prior authorization for services, eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens, and create a system that ensures that criteria and policy requirements are consistently and accurately applied.
WSHA is also providing a statewide Medicaid industry review related to prior-authorization changes for bone-anchored hearing device implant surgery, non-implant bone-anchored hearing devices and related reimbursement for audiologists.
What is your association’s proudest accomplishment?
Our members’ grassroots efforts have protected consumers, our licensure and reimbursement, and have dealt with workforce issues. Our success comes from consistent communication with our members through frequent e-blasts and from their desire to be informed about and advocate for the professions. WSHA continues to have a strong presence at state decision-making meetings that affect our workplaces and the service we provide to people with communication disorders.
WSHA also takes pride in the strength of our seven institutions of higher education that educate and train our future professionals.
At the national level, Wisconsin is fortunate to have very active members of three ASHA state advocacy networks—State Education Advocacy Leaders, State Advocates for Medicare Policy and State Advocates for Reimbursement—as well as the ASHA Audiology Advisory Council and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council, who keep our members updated on pressing issues and advocacy initiatives.
What should every communication sciences and disorders professional in your state know about the association?
As a member of WSHA, you can be part of a unified voice, invest in your profession and make a difference. Dues help support advocacy efforts that protect your job, your profession, your workload, your credentials, and the laws and policies that govern your practice. Whether you are an audiologist or SLP, and whether you are in health care, education or private practice, WSHA supports you through education, advocacy and public awareness.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
July 2015
Volume 20, Issue 7