2009 Public Policy Agenda Reflects Member Input Research Funding, Autonomy for Audiologists, IDEA Funding Are High Priorities for ASHA ASHA News
ASHA News  |   December 01, 2008
2009 Public Policy Agenda Reflects Member Input
Author Notes
  • James Potter, director of government relations and public policy, can be reached at jpotter@asha.org.
    James Potter, director of government relations and public policy, can be reached at jpotter@asha.org.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   December 01, 2008
2009 Public Policy Agenda Reflects Member Input
The ASHA Leader, December 2008, Vol. 13, 28. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.13172008.28
The ASHA Leader, December 2008, Vol. 13, 28. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.13172008.28
More than 1,000 ASHA members—20% more than responded last year—provided comments to help shape the association’s public policy agenda for 2009. The comments were reviewed by ASHA’s Government Relations and Public Policy (GRPP) Board, which develops an annual list of priorities for advocacy. The Board of Directors accepted the 2009 agenda at its October meeting.
Implementation of the agenda may be somewhat delayed by the upcoming presidential transition and the new 111th Congress, as government agencies await possible changes in the fiscal year 2009 federal budget and deliberations on an additional stimulus package for the banking and auto industries. However, DeAnne Wellman Owre, ASHA’s vice president for government relations and public policy, noted that “implementation of various successes in the 2008 public policy agenda is likely to keep our government relations teams and volunteer leaders very busy through at least the first half of 2009.”
These successes include instituting the Medicare Part B private practice status (direct billing) for speech-language pathologists; participation in reporting of quality measures under the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI); work on at least two ongoing studies on alternatives to the Medicare therapy caps; and work on expanded coverage for hearing aids and speech-generating devices under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Each objective was assigned to one of the following categories:
  • Highest Priority—requires immediate federal or state legislative or regulatory attention and major ASHA resources.

  • Priority—is important to ASHA members; activities to be determined as opportunity and resources permit.

  • Monitoring—is relevant to the ASHA members, but will be acted upon only when specific opportunities arise or conditions change member needs and priorities.

  • Planning—requires concerted planning to develop specific objectives.

Within each category, the order of the objectives is not a reflection of their relative level of importance or resources expended. In addition, placement of these objectives may be adjusted as the course of Congress, state legislatures, or federal and state agencies change.
Highest Priority Objectives
  • Higher education and research funding. Promote state/federal financial aid policies and research funding opportunities, while collaborating with state agencies/communication sciences and disorders programs to support recruitment and retention of master’s and doctoral students and clinicians in education and health care settings.

  • Autonomy for audiologists. Promote audiologists’ autonomy through direct patient access and comprehensive coverage of audiology services under Medicare.

  • IDEA funding. Support increased funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the following goals: establishment of effective service delivery and manageable workloads to maximize student outcomes; participation in early intervening activities using the Response-to-Intervention model (Part B) and increased access to appropriate early intervention services (Part C); increased professional development through dissemination of information about research-based practices in speech-language pathology and audiology.

The GRPP Board members responsible for the agenda are Linda Tepperman (chair), Martin Audiffred, Craig Champlin, Linda Jacobs-Condit, Roberta Kreb, Joan Mele-McCarthy, Ninevah Murray, J. Timothy O’Neill (public member), Carolyn Wiles Higdon, DeAnne Wellman Owre (monitoring vice president), and James Potter (ex officio). ASHA’s complete 2009 public policy agenda is available on the ASHA Web site.
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December 2008
Volume 13, Issue 17