Board of Directors Meeting Report: January 18-19, 2013

ASHA’s Board of Directors (BOD) met at the National Office on January 18 and 19. Following are highlights of the Board’s discussions.

President’s Opening Remarks

President Patty Prelock convened the meeting at 9:00 a.m., Friday, January 18, and began by thanking Shelly Chabon for her leadership in 2012. She then welcomed five new Board members: President-Elect Elizabeth McCrea; Vice President for Audiology Practice Donna Fisher Smiley; Perry Flynn, Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council; Howard Goldstein, Vice President for Science and Research; and Shari Robertson, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology. They began their 3-year terms of office January 1, 2013.

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:

  • With the recent retirement of Director of Planning Stan Dublinske, ASHA has created an Office of Business Excellence (OBE) that integrates strategic planning, project management, and process improvement into one team. The director of the new OBE is Deborah Sartin, who joined ASHA in 2012 as director of project management.
  • The volunteer leader issue of Association Now, the ASAE magazine, was distributed to Board members. It includes an article about social media that features quotes from NSSLHA and ASHA representatives.
  • The most recent Washington Business Journal book of lists includes a list of the largest associations in the DC area. ASHA was listed as 21. ASHA has been in the top 25 since the list was developed.
  • Total attendance at the 2012 ASHA Convention in Atlanta was 11,462. This compares to an attendance of 11,081 at the 2011 Convention.
  • ASHA has established a new Spanish-language web page that serves as a point of entry for Spanish-speaking consumers coming to the website and pulls together all of the consumer information we have available in Spanish ( Plans are under way to continue building out more Spanish content on speech, language, and hearing topics.
  • In December 2012, the ASHA and NSSLHA websites were integrated to help provide students with a more unified experience accessing member services (e.g., journals access, member benefits, mentoring information) online. This change was made in response to feedback from a NSSLHA member survey. Information for NSSLHA members and current CSD students can now be found at
  • The “Speak Up About Hearing Loss” video and audio public service announcements (PSAs) have consistently played in major media markets nationwide ever since they were first disseminated last May. They reached a total English- and Spanish-language radio and television audience of more than 200 million that month alone. A new video PSA with Annie and John Glenn urging the public to seek help for communication disorders is the focus of a dedicated January dissemination to digital media.

Review of BOD Operating Procedures

President Patty Prelock and CEO Arlene Pietranton reviewed the operating procedures of the Board of Directors. They reminded Board members that BOD decisions are based on the following considerations: (a) how the issue fits into the Strategic Pathway, (b) expected outcomes and performance measures, (c) anticipated return on investment, and (d) whether it is the best use of Association resources. The Board also takes into account (a) what it knows about the members’ wants and needs, (b) what is happening in the environment that is relevant, (c) what is the Association’s capacity and does the Association have the right strategic position to address the issue, and (d) the ethical implications of the Board’s choices. President Prelock and CEO Pietranton also reviewed the operational guidelines that are designed to ensure that the Board’s leadership of the Association is consistent and that the Board’s communication with the membership is optimal. The Board’s responsibilities are broken into four areas: planning, operations, audit, and communications. After considering some suggestions for adding clarifying language to the procedures, the Board agreed that the document effectively captures the Board’s operating methods and procedures for working with the National Office staff.

Preliminary (unaudited) Year End Report

Carolyn Higdon, Vice President for Finance, presented a summary of ASHA’s preliminary financial performance through December 31, 2012. She reported that revenue is expected to exceed expenses in 2012. She also discussed the role of the audit committee and the expected timing of the auditor’s report. ASHA’s audit committee will meet in January to begin the audit process, and audited financials for 2012 will be ready for the Board’s review in June. Carolyn also presented a new document—introduced to the Board this year—in which the committee reviewed 20 primary questions that boards should answer to accurately assess the financial health of an association. This is the first of four parts of a 2013 Board financial education program. The Board carefully reviewed the document and agreed that they understand the status of the Association’s finances and confirm that ASHA’s financial health is sound.

Membership and Membership Satisfaction Trend Data

Director of Surveys and Analysis Sarah Slater and Chief Staff Officer for Communications Marty Rome reviewed the member counts and satisfaction data for various constituents. Sarah presented the affiliation and member counts, which show steady growth over ASHA’s history. She also shared the member retention data for audiologists and speech-language pathologists for the past 10 years, which show retention rates of more than 95% for audiologists and 97% for speech-language pathologists. Sarah pointed out that ASHA’s remarkably high retention rates put the Association in the very top range of individual membership organizations. Marty presented some additional recruitment data showing that, according to 2010–2011 HES CSD survey results, 585 clinical entry-level degrees in audiology were granted in the 2010–2011 academic year and—between January 1 and December 31, 2011—ASHA received 614 applications for the CCC-A. He also shared that, according to the same data, 7,121 clinical entry-level degrees in speech-language pathology were granted in the 2010–2011 academic year and—between January 1 and December 31, 2011—ASHA received 7,305 applications for the CCC-SLP. Member counts and member data from the 2012 ASHA survey are currently being analyzed and will be published on ASHA’s website in March.

Trends and Issues From ASHA Committees and Boards

CEO Arlene Pietranton provided an update of an initiative being discussed with the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (United Kingdom), the Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited, the Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists, and the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists' Association to promote the importance of communication through collaborative efforts in 2014. The Board expressed support for ASHA’s continued collaboration in this multinational initiative.

Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Gail Richard reminded the Board to review and vote on Resolution BOD-5, 2013, which asks that the Board of Directors approve the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Scope of Practice document as a policy document of the Association. The Board approved this resolution; the new document will be posted on ASHA’s website. Gail also made the Board aware that in 2009 a resolution was passed that created a relationship between ASHA and the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) with SIG 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Special Interest Division 12 at that time) as ASHA’s representative. That resolution stated that the relationship would be reviewed at the end of 2012. Because the relationship with ATIA is expected to continue, a new resolution is being developed that will come to the Board this year.

Fiduciary Duties Review

Christina M. Gattuso, an attorney with the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend LLP (ASHA’s legal counsel), reviewed the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of Board members. ASHA’s BOD is provided this review at the beginning of each year to ensure that Board members fully understand the responsibilities of serving on the BOD of an association as large and complex as ASHA.

Membership Forum Debrief and Recent InTouch Submissions

Immediate Past President Shelly Chabon led the Board in a discussion regarding the feedback received from the November Convention membership forums and from ASHA InTouch with the Board forms received in 2012.

Early in 2012, the Board received a request from some dually certified ASHA members asking that they be allowed to vote for candidates running for both the audiology-specific and speech-language pathology-specific positions on the Board of Directors. ASHA’s current bylaws require that dually certified members or members without certification “shall declare the area (audiology or speech-language pathology) for which they wish to vote.” After discussion, the Board decided that a bylaws resolution should be developed indicating that dually certified members are allowed to vote for both sets of profession-specific candidates. That resolution was recently communicated to all members, and the member feedback was shared with the Board prior to this meeting. After additional discussion, the Board voted to make this bylaws change and allow dually certified ASHA members to vote for candidates from both the audiology and speech-language pathology professions. This change will go into effect with the upcoming elections in April.

Later in 2012, a member submitted an InTouch form asking that ASHA develop a position regarding gun violence in schools. With approximately half of ASHA’s members working in schools, ASHA is strongly in support of making sure that students have a safe learning environment and our members have a safe working environment. However, ASHA limits its official, public positions to areas in which we have special expertise or unique information to contribute. Because gun violence, gun ownership, and school safety are not within the scope of practice of the professions, the Board believes that it is not appropriate for ASHA to take an official position on this issue. The Board did suggest that the development of a Leader article related to this topic might be appropriate. The Board also felt that ASHA may want to work with other professional organizations that have specific expertise in this area. ASHA staff will follow up on these suggestions.

CSO for Communications Marty Rome reported that ASHA has received feedback from 167 members about the new mission statement draft. He reported that the subteam that worked on the original draft will examine the comments and present a new proposal to the Board, most likely at the March Board meeting. In addition to Marty, the subteam includes Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore, CSO for Multicultural Affairs Vicki Deal-Williams, and Director of the Office of Business Excellence Deborah Sartin.

President Prelock shared that another way the Board will get feedback this year is through the ASHA Community. ASHA will be creating a BOD Community discussion group focused on broad issues of importance to the professions. For example, the first topic is likely to be a discussion about the importance of interprofessional education. The plan is to post a new topic at the beginning of each month. Member input provided through the discussion will be become part of the information used by the Board in future planning.

Planning for March 2013 Advisory Council (AC) Meetings

Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council Perry Flynn and Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster led the Board in a planning discussion for the advisory council meetings to be held at the National Office in March. The Board discussed a number of topics to be brought to the advisory councils for their advice and guidance during the March meeting and they also discussed new methods for developing additional topics for this meeting with the help of the AC members. The agenda will be refined over the next few weeks and communicated to advisory council members in the pre-meeting materials that will be disseminated in February.

Subcommittee Meetings

The Audiology Subcommittee of the Board talked about a recent discussion with representatives from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). During that conference call, ADA representatives discussed legislation they are advocating to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act that would define audiologists as physicians for purposes of funding audiology services under the Medicare program. ASHA recognizes the potential benefit that would accrue to audiologists from this legislation and is also aware that there could be significant opposition to such a bill on Capitol Hill and from other organizations. The Board raised questions about whether efforts to pass such legislation at this time would be a good use of ASHA’s advocacy resources. The Board agreed that ASHA should continue the discussions with ADA. The Audiology Subcommittee also met with an ASHA member who would like to see ASHA expand its efforts to reach out to private-practice audiologists. Board members and staff agreed to carefully review these recommendations and consider additional efforts to increase the involvement of private-practice audiologists in the Association. The Speech-Language Pathology Subcommittee met and discussed plans for gathering feedback from the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council members and increasing member engagement. The subcommittee also received updates from the speech-language pathology vice presidents.

Generative Discussion

Starting in 2012, the BOD decided to designate time at each meeting to engage in generative thinking on a specific topic. A generative discussion is a method of interaction that enables the Board to look at a topic from a broad perspective. Its purpose is to help the Board work on a complex topic in a way that facilitates their focus on the specific part of that topic that the Association may be able to impact and, therefore, should discuss further. At this meeting, the Board discussed why interprofessional education (IPE) is important in speech-language pathology and audiology and what aspects of culture may facilitate or challenge IPE efforts in CSD, other related disciplines, various practice settings, and higher education. The Board will be revisiting this topic and others at future meetings.

AAA’s Request for RUC HCPAC Seat

In 1992, the American Medical Association (AMA) created the RVS Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC) Review Board to allow for participation in the development of relative values for new and revised CPT codes within the scope of practice of non-physician, health care professionals. CPT codes are used to report covered services to Medicare and other organizations. Organizations representing physician assistants, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, optometrists, podiatrists, psychologists, social workers, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, chiropractors, and registered dieticians are included on the review board. ASHA has represented the professions on the RUC HCPAC since its inception because its member numbers are the largest for both audiologists and speech-language pathologists. In that capacity, ASHA regularly reaches out to all audiology organizations so that every organization has input in the process. In October 2012, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) sent a letter to ASHA suggesting that AAA should be the organization that represents audiologists on the RUC HCPAC. In response, ASHA staff and Board representatives met with representatives from AAA to discuss their request. During its Saturday meeting, the Board was joined via conference call by SLP Dee Nikjeh, co-chair of the Health Care Economics Committee and alternate member of the RUC HCPAC; audiologist Robert Fifer, ASHA representative to the RUC HCPAC; Stuart Trembath, chair, Health Care Economics Committee; and ASHA staff members George Lyons, director of government relations and public policy, and Ingrida Lusis, director of federal and political advocacy. After discussing the AAA request thoroughly, the Board voted unanimously not to support the proposal. The Board concluded that both of the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology continue to be well represented by ASHA via its single seat on the RUC HCPAC. The Board also committed to continuing the dialogue with AAA to determine if there are ways to enhance opportunities for AAA and other audiology and/or other speech-language pathology organizations to more fully provide input to the RUC HCPAC.

Property Update

Chief Staff Officer for Operations Chuck Cochran reported that sales of the townhouses that are being developed on the previous ASHA headquarters property at 10801 Rockville Pike are progressing very well. As of January 9 of this year, 76 of 112 townhomes had been sold. Since the beginning of the project, ASHA has received more than $9 million from StreetScape (the developer) and expects to receive a total of approximately $24 million upon completion of the project in 2014. Chuck also reported that approximately 4,000 square feet of space remain on the fifth floor. That space is being actively marketed in the area.

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