ASHA Board of Directors Meeting Report: August 15–16, 2014

ASHA's Board of Directors (BOD) met at the National Office on August 15 and 16. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions.

President's Opening Remarks

President Elizabeth McCrea convened the meeting at 9:00 a.m. and welcomed all members to the August meeting of the Board. She began by congratulating the staff and volunteers for the many awards received this year. Though ASHA is frequently recognized for its various accomplishments, the recent awards for diversity and inclusion and the ASAE Summit Award further reinforce ASHA's leadership in the association community.

CEO Update

In addition to providing the written summary with the pre-meeting materials, CEO Arlene Pietranton updated the Board about a number of items.

  • The 2014 ASHA Convention looks to be in excellent shape. We essentially tied last year's record-breaking number of submissions—less one. The number of submissions, along with our new scheduling structure, allows us to accept more papers, which in turn gives us an indicator of at least a base number of assured registrants. This year, there are more than 1,700 unique presenting authors, which figure indicates continued growth from past years.
  • ASHA's Practice Portal now includes 18 topics (10 Clinical Topics and 8 Professional Issues), with an additional 12 topics currently in active development. In this, the Portal's third, year of development, the goals are to operationalize the content development process while maintaining consistently high quality and increase member engagement and awareness of the Portal. One hundred and forty-five subject matter experts have participated in the development and review of the current live pages. Pages on the Portal have received 260,756 unique page views, and average page views/month in 2014 showed a 70% increase over 2013 figures.
  • The transition of NOMS to a new technology infrastructure is complete and has resulted in a very substantial increase in participation. The next important steps for NOMS will be expansion of the types of data collected. In 2013, the Board established two ad hoc committees: one to develop recommendations on the addition of patient-reported outcomes to supplement the current clinician-reported outcomes and the other to develop the framework for treatment taxonomy to enhance the ability of NOMS to help participants use the data for clinical quality improvement. The work of both committees will be concluding in the coming months. A third ad hoc committee, on audiology outcomes measurement, was also established in 2013, and its report has been submitted to the Board of Directors. Chief among the recommendations included in the report is the development of an outcomes data collection system that utilizes the existing NOMS infrastructure to the fullest extent possible.
  • Applications received for certification are at all-time record numbers. This situation creates a challenge for processing applications in the 6- to 8-week timeframe. We are working overtime and bringing in additional staffing resources to deal with the volume.
  • The American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) selected ASHA as a 2014 Power of A Gold Award winner for ASHA's Diversity Recruitment Programs—the Student to Empowered Professional (S.T.E.P.) program and the Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP). ASHA was subsequently chosen to receive one of the six 2014 Summit Awards. The Power of A Awards recognize a select number of organizations annually that distinguish themselves with innovative, effective, and broad-reaching programs and activities that positively impact America and the world.

Financial Report

Vice President for Finance Carolyn Higdon reported on ASHA's 2014 financial performance. As of June 30, 2014, dues revenue and non-dues revenue showed small increases over 2013 revenues. Expenses are tracking slightly below budgeted levels. ASHA is forecasting positive revenue over expenses in 2014.

Carolyn also presented an overview of the key elements that make up ASHA's revenues and expenses. This was the fourth of the financial education program presentations developed for the 2014 Board. The Board had a further discussion about how ASHA's investments, revenues, and expenses are managed. ASHA's Financial Planning Board will meet in September to review the 2015 budget and make a recommendation to the Board to review at the October Board meeting.

The Board voted to maintain ASHA's dues at the current level for 2015.

Changes in Telehealth Legislation Landscape

Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Theresa Rodgers and Director of Federal & Political Advocacy Ingrida Lusis led the Board in a discussion about the concept of a limited license/registration to provide telehealth services across state lines. The focus of the discussion was around the potential of federal legislation providing for reimbursement of telehealth services by audiologists and speech-language pathologists and whether the Board would support negotiation of licensure requirements as specified within such legislation. The Board agreed that ASHA will support the concept of limited licensure and/or registration for telehealth practices across state lines under the oversight of state boards. The Board also agreed that in the event of proposed federal legislation providing for reimbursement of telehealth services by audiologists and speech-language pathologists, ASHA will consider supporting reimbursement legislation that includes a licensure requirement.

Board Activities at Convention

Board of Directors Manager Marty Moore reviewed the Board's schedule for the 2014 ASHA Convention in Orlando in November. BOD involvement is expected in various activities beginning on Wednesday and ending on Sunday morning. Board members will also be attending a variety of sessions and activities as presenters, participants, and active supporters and will be available at the Member Forum on Saturday and the ASHA Volunteer Village at various times throughout Convention.

Generative Discussion: Clinical Registries and Public Reporting

Starting in 2013, the BOD began using designated time at each meeting to engage in generative discussion of a specific topic to enable the Board to look at a topic from a broad perspective. The purpose is to help the Board work on a particular element of a complex topic in a focused way. At this meeting, the Board discussed clinical registries and public reporting. Board members and CSOs discussed what information would be helpful and meaningful to consumers in making informed choices about providers and services in speech-language pathology and audiology; explored potential reactions from members regarding making the quality data in the clinical registry publicly available to consumers and payers; and how ASHA might most effectively educate and prepare members to thrive in a world in which the quality of their services is required to be measured, reported, and made public. The Board will be engaging other committees and boards to discuss these topics and will revisit this topic and others at future meetings.

Trends and Issues

CEO Arlene Pietranton asked if the Board would want to have a discussion at some point about Committee Day, which takes place immediately prior to Convention. This event has been in place for many years, and Arlene is wondering if now might be a good time to determine if the process can be improved. The Board agreed that it would be useful to have a discussion about Committee Day at a future Board meeting and that we should ask those who participate in those meetings for their feedback prior to the Board's discussion.

Director of Association Governance Operations Andrea Falzarano reminded the Board about a recent Issues in Ethics Statement. Issues in Ethics Statements from the Board of Ethics are published to help members and certificate holders benefit from additional analysis and instruction concerning a specific issue of ethical conduct. Andrea asked Board members to make sure their credential information was accurate in the member profile so their information can be accurately shared. There was also some discussion about the appropriate way for certificate credentials to be displayed. The outcome of these discussions will be shared with the Board of Ethics.

President Elizabeth McCrea and Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly shared their experiences from their recent trip to China for the Chinese International Speech and Hearing Association (CISHA) inaugural Congress in Shanghai. CISHA funded their trip and supports the International Communications Project (ICP) that includes the goal of demonstrating that communication is a fundamental human right. Liz and Lemmie reported that ASHA sees potential for collaboration between CISHA and the China Consortium on Communication Health (CCCH), the translation of journals into Chinese (which has begun), possible linkage of the ASHA and CISHA websites, and CISHA leadership attendance at ASHA Convention.

Vice President for Finance Carolyn Higdon and Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Theresa Rodgers shared some recent developments related to changes to Medicare's coverage and payment policy for speech-generating devices (SGDs) and ASHA's advocacy in this effort. Theresa and Carolyn shared with the Board a list of actions ASHA has already taken to oppose these changes. Going forward, ASHA will continue its work on SGD advocacy in collaboration with other key stakeholders. ASHA will work with Congresswoman McMorris Rodger's (R-WA) office to circulate a Dear Colleague letter that asks the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to consider refraining from implementing a policy that will negatively impact beneficiaries. In addition, because of ASHA member concerns and interest in directly advocating on this issue, ASHA will post a grassroots action alert on this issue.

Vice President for Planning Edie Hapner and Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs Vicki Deal-Williams have posted a presentation on the Envisioned Future and Strategic Pathway 2015–2017, which BOD members may use to update their committees and boards on the Association's strategic priorities moving forward. The Board was also asked to review the draft Objectives and Performance Measures for the 2025 Outcomes of the Strategic Pathway and provide feedback to staff for consideration in the development of work plans. Final approval will be sought from the BOD in October.

Ad Hoc Committee on Audiology Outcomes Measurement

In 2013, the Board established a committee to develop tools that would allow practitioners to accurately collect and mine data related to patients' auditory and vestibular impairment. The charge to the Ad Hoc Committee on Audiology Outcomes Measurement was to make recommendations to the Board as to how ASHA should address the following four questions:

  1. What data are needed by whom and for what purposes?
  2. What is the appropriate role for ASHA to play?
  3. What are the ramifications of failure to act?
  4. If multiple data collection efforts are needed within audiology, what is the relative priority of each?

At today's meeting, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Barbara Cone and Chief Staff Officer for Audiology Neil DiSarno led the Board in a discussion of the recent report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Audiology Outcomes Measurement. The committee made a number of recommendations to the Board, including:

  • ASHA should develop a data collection system to address the needs of the following stakeholders: payers and policymakers, patients, audiologists providing direct clinical services and their administrators, researchers, and caregivers.
  • This data collection should enable audiologists to describe their impact on a variety of outcomes ranging from the increased patient quality of life to the true value of outcomes.
  • The data collection should be designed as a “learning” system in that the data should inform improvements in clinical practice.
  • Patient-reported and clinician-reported outcomes data should be collected.
  • ASHA needs to take the lead in the design and development of a data collection system meeting the needs of this effort.
  • ASHA should explore possibilities for input from other professional audiology organizations as stakeholders who may provide value to this endeavor.
  • The Board should give the issue of audiology outcomes its highest possible priority.
  • The highest priority should be attached to those elements of data collection and analysis that are most likely to have an impact on continued reimbursement of audiology services and are most likely to inform the question of what benefits are associated with auditory rehabilitation.
  • ASHA National Office staff and member content experts should create an initial design of the data collection system.

The Board voted to accept the full report provided by the Ad Hoc Committee.

Joint Audiology Organization Update

In March of this year, leaders from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), and ASHA gathered for a joint meeting with the purpose of surveying audiology's professional landscape, recognizing areas of alignment, and identifying potential collaborative initiatives to better serve audiology and those we serve. Leaders and staff from the three organizations left with a renewed commitment to work together on issues of mutual interest and to develop meaningful resources for our collective members and those we serve and agreed to hold a second meeting focused on legislative topics. That meeting took place on August 14. At today's Board meeting, President McCrea, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Barbara Cone, Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster, Vice President for Audiology Practice Donna Smiley, and CSO for Audiology Neil DiSarno provided a preliminary report regarding the outcomes from that recent meeting.

At the meeting, the three organizations were provided information from an outside expert on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the profession of audiology. After further discussion among the participants, it was agreed that there were a number of areas where all the organizations might work together. Members of all three organizations will be provided with information within the next month regarding the outcome of the joint meeting.

Resolution to Transition the Ad Hoc Committee on Speech-Language Pathology School Issues to the Speech-Language Pathology School Issues Advisory Board

Resolution BOD 18-2014 proposes that the Ad Hoc Committee on Speech-Language Pathology School Issues transition to the Speech-Language Pathology School Issues Advisory Board to advise the Board of Directors and be charged to identify and monitor critical issues, forecast needs and trends, provide expertise in the development of resources, and recommend actions that support and enhance the work of school-based practitioners. Because members have expressed concern regarding the constant flux of school-based practice—and with new issues and demands facing school-based practitioners as they operate, grow, and transform their professional practices, it was felt that such a board could be more responsive to the changing needs of school-based members. After thoughtful discussion, the Board voted to approve this resolution.

Update on NSSLHA/ASHA Integration

In 2011, ASHA and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) agreed to an integration plan designed to maintain NSSLHA's autonomy and enhance ASHA and NSSLHA's ability to better engage all students. As part of that process, ASHA has assumed fiduciary responsibility for NSSLHA, while NSSLHA remains a separate organization with its own board and student-led executive council. At today's meeting, NSSLHA National Advisor Carlin Hageman and CSO for Operations Chuck Cochran reported that the new NSSLHA National Advisor, Kathy Shapley, PhD, assistant professor in speech-language pathology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will attend the new ASHA Board of Directors orientation and Board retreat in October and will begin her new role on January 1, 2015. He also mentioned that a new NSSLHA consultant, who sits on the NSSLHA Board, will be appointed by the NSSLHA Council within the next few weeks.

Resolution to Approve 1 Additional Meeting Day at the Annual Convention for the BOE-EES

Resolution BOD 25-2014 asks the Board of Directors to approve 1 additional meeting day at Convention in 2014 and 2015 for the Board of Ethics (BOE) Ethics Education Subcommittee (EES). It was felt, by both the BOE members and the subcommittee members, that adding a meeting day to Convention would be the most cost-effective way to meet the work demands of the committee that need to be completed in 2014 and 2015. The Board agreed that the EES should finish this phase of its work before the end of the year but did not feel that an additional meeting day at Convention in 2014 and 2015 was appropriate. The subcommittee will be asked to consider an alternative plan for completing its work before the end of the year. As a result, this resolution was withdrawn.

ASHA Corporate Partners