Board of Directors Meeting Report: August 12–14, 2011
ASHA's Board of Directors (BOD) met at the National Office on August 12, 13, and 14. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions:
President's Opening Remarks
President Paul Rao convened the meeting at 10:50 a.m. on August 12, following an early-morning visit to Symphony Park at Strathmore (10801 Rockville Pike), the site of the old ASHA headquarters, which is now being developed as a residential site. Everyone was impressed with the location and the amount of resources (landscaping, roads, lighting, and other infrastructure) that the developer is investing in the site. Though the housing market nationwide is recovering slowly, Chief Staff Officer for Operations Chuck Cochran pointed out that the Washington, DC, housing market is one of the strongest in the nation, and sales of the townhouses there are progressing faster than expected. In addition to the funds already received from the sale of the property, ASHA receives payments from the gross sales proceeds of the homes.
In his opening remarks, Paul commented about the tremendously positive feedback he received from members at the Health Care/Business Institute and the Schools Conference regarding the educational content, locations, and overall member experience of both of these conferences.
Executive Director Update
Besides the written summary provided to all Board members, Executive Director Arlene Pietranton updated the Board about a number of items:
- As of this week, registration for the ASHA Convention in San Diego is 4,258, which is running slightly ahead of last year at this time. There is a focus this year on improving the online planning tool, which just went live this week. ASHA's Convention and Meetings Team is excited about how this new tool will help attendees plan their time at Convention in November.
- Last October, a new and improved ASHA Leader Online launched, with the goal of being able to provide members with more in-depth and timely coverage, and a greater variety than is practical with print. Improvements included simpler print options and navigation, and enhanced use with mobile devices. The new site is doing very well, attracting attention, and benefiting from the new Leader e-mail newsletter.
- In July, Thomson Reuters released the most current rankings for scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journals. The ASHA journals continue to fare well with respect to impact factors, rankings, and cited half-life.
- Certification Maintenance:
- 2007–2009 Interval – 99% of certificate holders in this cohort are compliant with certification maintenance standards as of July 2011. This represents a 9% increase from July 2010. The deadline for compliance for this cohort was December 31, 2010.
- 2008–2010 Interval – 88% of certificate holders in this cohort are compliant with certification maintenance standards as of July 2011. This represents a 52% increase from July 2010. The deadline for compliance for this cohort is December 31, 2011.
- 2009–2011 Interval – 40% of certificate holders in this cohort are compliant with certification maintenance standards as of July 2011. This represents a 25% increase from July 2010. The deadline for compliance for this cohort is December 31, 2012.
- ASHA was named one of greater Washington's healthiest employers by the Washington Business Journal. Arlene pointed out that ASHA's wellness program not only helps address the health and wellness of staff, it helps reduce the Association's health care costs.
State Speech and Hearing Association Outreach Update
In 2007, the Board of Directors approved an initiative designed to increase interaction, communication, and collaboration between ASHA and state associations. The program has been successful in helping to develop legislative initiatives, provide grassroots advocacy training, develop state advocacy networks, coordinate efforts to defeat legislation and regulations detrimental to members, and increase the utilization of legislative alerts to members through ASHA's Take Action Site. To continue expanding ASHA's efforts, a BOD Outreach Initiative was added in 2009 to facilitate greater interaction between members in states and the BOD. A process was created to match BOD members with state association requests for BOD members to conduct presentations and engage members in dialogue at state association meetings. At this past weekend's Board meeting, Janet Deppe, Director of State Advocacy, presented feedback from a survey of state associations and led the Board in a discussion of these outreach initiative efforts since 2009. Feedback from the survey and the BOD meeting discussion strongly supports the need to continue the program. Suggestions received both from state associations and from the BOD meeting will be used to continue to improve the program.
Membership and Affiliation Categories
Chief Staff Officer for Communications Marty Rome presented a summary of the current rights and benefits of member and affiliation (nonmember) categories of the Association. With the addition of the Associate level of affiliation, it was felt that a single document which describes all of the various categories would be helpful to the Board. Marty will incorporate the comments from the Board to finalize the document.
Practices Resources Project
Vice President for Audiology Practice Jaynee Handelsman, Vice President for Science and Research Karen Kirk, Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Julie Noel, Chief Staff Officer for Audiology Vic Gladstone, Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly, Chief Staff Officer for Science and Research Margaret Rogers, and Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs Vicki Deal-Williams serve on a working group that is updating current practice resources and developing new practice resources information for the Association. They proposed, and the Board agreed, that the best way for members to access a comprehensive view of all practice resources information would be to invest in developing more robust web-based information housed on ASHA's website. Since the development of this new capability requires an investment in Association resources, the BOD agreed that ASHA should use the special opportunities fund to pay for the development of this program. Vic updated the Board on the overall status of this project. Lisa Rai Mabry-Price, School Services Manager, demonstrated prototype landing pages and structure of the information for pediatric dysphagia and vestibular disorders associated with trauma.
The Board agreed that ASHA Practice Policy documents are cardinal documents of the Association, are written for and by ASHA members, require the Board's approval, and include the Code of Ethics, the Scope of Practice in Audiology, the Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, and position statements, which are ASHA's official position on certain issues, as determined by the Board.
Next steps for this project include the development of a process by which clinical topics can be prioritized to meet member needs as this transformation scales up, soliciting a widespread review of the prototypes, establishing a process for vetting the quality of external information, and determining the scope of the clinical topics to be addressed next.
ASHA's Envisioned Future
During its January 2011 meeting, the Board reviewed ASHA's Envisioned Future that was approved by the then Executive Board and Legislative Council in 2004. Following proposed revisions made by the Board during its January meeting, the draft revised Envisioned Future was shared with the ASHA Advisory Councils during their meetings in March 2011. The Advisory Councils were asked to review the draft Envisioned Future and provide recommendations for any changes. In June 2011, the draft Envisioned Future: 2030 was posted for peer review by all ASHA members. Members were asked to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with each of the nine Envisioned Future statements. A total of 183 members submitted comments. At this weekend's Board meeting, Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore led the Board in a discussion of the updated Envisioned Future: 2030 document based on the feedback received from the Advisory Councils and the peer review. The feedback provided by the Board will be incorporated into the final version.
On July 22–23, ASHA convened more than 70 individuals representing academia, supervisors of speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs), SLPAs, state education consultants, state education advocacy leaders, and state licensing boards for a summit to discuss the various provider roles in speech-language pathology. At this weekend's Board meeting, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Tom Hallahan, Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Julie Noel, and Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly presented a report regarding the outcomes of the summit. In light of the summit's priority of improving speech-language pathology services to children in educational settings, participants acknowledged that the current shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can result in overworked SLPs, underserved clients, and the temptation to expand services through shortcuts. The question of meeting the growing need for speech-language pathology services while sustaining or improving quality focused on clarifying the continuum of service providers and articulating expectations appropriate to different provider levels. Participants in the summit proposed more fully defined categories of service providers, considered expectations regarding degree program educational goals, and called for a clearer delineation of the qualifications and competencies expected of SLPAs. Summit participants also considered how best to bring theory to practice. Among the many ideas that were offered, six in particular appeared to enjoy broad support and have been identified by the planning committee as the principal recommendations of the summit:
- To address the misunderstanding and misalignments that can result from the lack of a shared nomenclature, ASHA should develop (or revise) and publish a lexicon for the field of speech-language pathology.
- Having completed a thorough study of speech-language pathology practice in all 50 states, ASHA should develop and publish a framework that articulates the range of acceptable practice across the different service provider levels within the profession. This framework should emphasize states' best practices.
- Because implementation of the framework would be enhanced by development of comprehensive assessments or evaluative approaches for the measurement of competencies, ASHA should take under consideration the creation of such a process consistent with ASHA's commitment to inclusion.
- Having identified principles of best practice in states such as Texas, California, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Louisiana, ASHA should develop a model for state adoption that offers an optimum structure for the delivery of speech-language pathology services.
- ASHA should develop and articulate principles, protocols, and pathways of effective supervisory relationships.
- In partnership with the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), ASHA should determine how this continuum may best support SLPA and SLP preparation across professional settings throughout the educational continuum.
A subcommittee of the Board chaired by President-Elect Shelly Chabon working with Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly and including Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council Nancy Alarcon, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Tom Hallahan, Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Julie Noel, Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore, and Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Neil Shepard will discuss these recommendations in greater detail and will determine what specific actions should be considered by the full Board later this year.
Vice President for Finance Bob Augustine updated the Board regarding ASHA's financial performance through June 2011. He reported that dues income is ahead of last year as a result of further growth in membership, a record retention rate of 98.5%, and the 2010 dues increase. Non-dues revenue is also running slightly ahead of 2010 primarily due to good performance in conference revenue, as well as to increased participation in eLearning and telephone seminars. Expenses are on budget. ASHA is operating at positive revenue over expenses for 2011. Bob reported that he anticipates ASHA will be on budget this year and that no dues increase is anticipated for 2012. The Board also had an opportunity to review the new Form 990 prior to its submission.
Governance Restructure Parking Lot Review
In March 2007, the Legislative Council passed a resolution approving a change in ASHA's governance structure and process. To make sure those changes were fully implemented before any additional changes were made, proposed changes were held in a “parking lot” to be reviewed in 2011 for potential implementation in 2012. At this weekend's meeting, Immediate Past President Tommie L. Robinson, Jr. led the Board in a discussion of the process the Board will use to consider future changes to the governance structure. Though the process precludes the Board from voting on changes in 2011, the Board can discuss potential changes this year for potential further action in 2012. It was decided that a discussion of governance issues will be added to the October meeting, which includes current and new Board members, so everyone will have the benefit of the views of both groups and the opportunity to review all the governance restructure-related survey data prior to discussions by the 2012 Board next year.
CAA Strategic Planning Session
The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) periodically participates in strategic planning sessions to review their operating procedures, funding, and governance. Regular strategic planning by the CAA is an expectation for the ongoing national recognition CAA has received by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education for more than 40 years. Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology Jeanne Wilcox provided the Board with an update regarding the CAA's recent strategic planning session in July.
Comprehensive Audiology Medicare Benefit
ASHA invited audiology organizations to participate in a meeting on August 11, 2011, regarding ASHA's decision to pursue comprehensive audiology Medicare benefit legislation, to answer any questions these organizations might have, and to talk about next steps in pursuing this legislative course. Representatives of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the American Academy of Audiology, the Association of VA Audiologists, the Educational Audiology Association, the Hearing Loss Association of America, and the National Hearing Conservation Association were able to participate. Vice President for Audiology Practice Jaynee Handelsman reported on the results of that meeting. ASHA will be sending the meeting participants a concept paper that describes the proposed legislation (which is still in development) in more detail.
Motion: 24-2011 Affiliation of Associates
Motion 24-2011 clarifies that the Associate level of involvement with the Association is an affiliate category, which is a nonmember classification. Associates are individuals who currently work in support of and under the supervision of ASHA-certified audiologists or speech-language pathologists or are support personnel who are qualified to offer support services in their state but are not currently working. Associates can affiliate with Special Interest Groups and serve on ad hoc committees, task forces, and working groups. Associates cannot participate in Association governance (i.e., they cannot vote or serve on standing committees, councils, or boards). After extensive discussion, the motion was passed.
Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly led the Board in a discussion of interprofessional education (IPE) as it relates to the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology. She reported that there is a growing trend in continuing professional education in the health care professions to make educational experiences interprofessional, rather than providing activities for different provider types in silos. Based on ASHA's involvement in a number of collaborative venues, Lemmie recommended that the Board consider the following actions:
- Develop a position regarding the role for involvement of audiologists and speech-language pathologists in IPE.
- Facilitate a needs assessment regarding competency via a survey and plan educational offerings based on the results.
- Collaborate with CAPCSD on IPE for academic programs.
- Develop a long-range plan that involves IPE in pre-education, clinical practice, and continuing education.
- Consider a track at the ASHA Convention on IPE and encourage participation from other disciplines.
- Include IPE as a topic of discussion at Researcher-Academic Town Meetings.
- Pursue funding from external organizations to develop materials and resources.
- Utilize the TriAlliance as a vehicle for further discussions for engaging associations of related health professionals.
Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore then led the Board in an exercise using the visioning process to focus on this topic. After this exercise, the Board decided to further consider these recommendations and discuss them in greater detail at a future meeting.
Executive Director Arlene Pietranton updated the Board about a recent legal issue. She reported that ASHA recently received a letter from an attorney representing the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). The ADA letter claimed, among other things, that ASHA made numerous false statements in its communications to certificate holders about the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A). Although ASHA sent a comprehensive response to that attorney [PDF], ADA has filed a lawsuit against ASHA using some of the same false claims espoused in their letter. For example, ADA's lawsuit indicates that ASHA refused to provide updated letters to ADA's attorney. That is false. While ASHA does not believe we were required to be more explicit or to restate information that has already been provided to certificate holders, as was stated in the letter to ADA's attorney, ASHA on its own initiative modified the letters to further remind recipients of the context in which they are being made. This was done purely to reinforce what was already understood in these letters and not, as ADA's attorney characterizes it, “to cure a problem.” Those letters have been sent to ADA's attorney in an effort to resolve this issue, and for no other purpose. We believe this should conclude the matter and that the ADA should now dismiss its action and should take steps to correct the misinformation that it has published about ASHA. The Board agreed that if ADA does not dismiss its action, ASHA will defend the Association from these untrue and inaccurate claims, all of which have been clearly refuted in ASHA's recent letter.
ASHA is committed to a board self-evaluation process as one of the key principles of an effective governing board. The BOD decided in 2009 that every 2 years it would conduct a self-evaluation to assess its strengths, identify areas of improvement, and determine actions to close any gaps. A self-assessment survey was completed by Board members in 2011; at this weekend's meeting, Andrea Falzarano, Director of Association Governance Operations, led a discussion based on the results of that self-assessment. The Board will be using the feedback from the assessment to further enhance Board operations. The Presidential Team, which includes President Paul Rao, President-Elect Shelly Chabon, Immediate Past President Tommie L. Robinson, Jr., and Executive Director Arlene Pietranton, will prioritize the recommendations.
Board Activities at Convention
Board of Directors Manager Jill Straniero reviewed the Board's schedule for the 2011 ASHA Convention in San Diego. BOD involvement is expected in various activities beginning on Wednesday and ending on Saturday evening with a Board meeting. Beyond the many expected sessions, Board members will be attending a variety of sessions and activities as presenters, participants, and active supporters, and will be available at the two Member Forums and at the ASHA Center in the Exhibit Hall at various times throughout Convention.