Board of Directors Meeting Report: July 26-27, 2013

ASHA's Board of Directors (BOD) met at the National Office on July 26 and 27. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions.

President's Opening Remarks

President Patty Prelock convened the meeting at 9:00 a.m., Friday, July 26, and began by reviewing the values all members of the Board share: inspiring others to lead, working collaboratively with our members and doing our best to represent them, and remaining committed to ensuring that everyone has the right to effective communication.

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.

  • A very successful schools conference was recently held in Long Beach, California. Paid attendance was at 975, only a few attendees shy of our record attendance from the 2010 conference and a more than 10% increase over attendance at both the 2011 and 2012 meetings.
  • A new version of NOMS was released on July 16. This version facilitates the compliance of NOMS participants with the new CMS G-code reporting requirements. This entails the proviso that functional status of Medicare Part B patients receiving rehabilitation services be reported at the beginning and at discharge from the rehab episode, as well as at intervals of every 10 treatment days. The new release of NOMS involves a more robust technological platform for the web-based data collection application, a streamlined user interface to decrease reporting time, and four features to assist with G-code compliance:
    • automatic translation from NOMS FCM scores to Medicare G-codes and severity modifiers for patients' functional status,
    • automatic translation from NOMS FCM levels to Medicare G-codes and severity modifiers for therapists' treatment goals,
    • provision of risk-adjusted national benchmarking data within the tool to assist therapists in determining appropriate treatment goals,
    • incorporation of 10-day reporting intervals for Part B patients, rather than the previous time frame of admission and discharge only.
  • ASHA is developing resources about the changes between DSM-IV and DSM-5 and the possible implications for ASHA members and consumers. ASHA has completed an analysis that compares ASHA recommendations during three public comment periods with what is in the DSM-5. Through our Public Relations unit, we are planning various means to inform families and other consumers about what the DSM-5 will mean to them (e.g., podcast, media interviews). We will address concerns families have expressed, particularly with respect to autism and communication disorders. Articles and updates can be found on the ASHA DSM-5 resource page.
  • The Auerbach law firm will move into fifth floor rental space at the National Office on September 1. This will leave 1,600 sq. ft. vacant out of the total 22,000 sq. ft. Rental income from the fifth floor is a good source of non-dues revenue for the Association.
  • ASHA was honored with the Workplace Excellence Seal of Approval, the Health & Wellness Seal of Approval, and the AWE EcoLeadership and Diversity Champion Awards for 2013 by the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE). AWE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping companies become great places to work by supporting workplaces that benefit employees, communities, and the environment. ASHA is one of only 14 organizations to receive all four awards conveyed in 2013, and we have been honored to receive one or more of each of these awards annually since their inception.

Financial Report

Vice President for Finance Carolyn Higdon reported on ASHA's 2013 financial performance. As of June 30, 2013, dues revenue and non-dues revenue showed small increases over 2012 revenues. Expenses are tracking as budgeted. ASHA is forecasting positive revenue over expenses in 2013.

Carolyn shared ASHA's 990 for FY 2012 with the Board. Form 990 is an annual reporting return that certain federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS. It provides information on the filing organization's mission, programs, and finances. The Board reviews the 990 each year.

Carolyn also presented an overview of ASHA's risk assessment process and plans with the Board. Risk management includes identifying actual risks and potential risks, analyzing these risks in terms of financial loss and legal liability, developing risk control techniques and systems, implementing those techniques and systems, and monitoring their effectiveness. This was the third of four financial education program presentations planned for the 2013 Board. The Board had an extensive discussion about how ASHA manages and weighs risks when making decisions and managing projects.

Trends and Issues

Immediate Past President Shelly Chabon updated the Board about discussions regarding audiology education and undergraduate education for both audiologists and speech-language pathologists. She reported on a preliminary conference call with a subgroup, which included the Audiology Subcommittee of the Board, regarding engaging other entities in a conversation about the current educational models in audiology and speech-language pathology. Among other things, the subgroup discussed the possibility of convening a larger group (similar to what was done in the health care summit) to discuss this issue. This discussion will continue in the subgroup and in further Board meetings; because numerous other boards, committees, councils, and related organizations have an interest in this topic, those groups will be consulted about their views.

Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Gail Richard, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology Shari Robertson, and Director of Academic Affairs and Research Education Loretta Nunez reported on the Collaborating Across Borders (CAB) IV conference that was held June 12–14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. ASHA was a gold-level sponsor of the conference and was able to raise the visibility of our professions with the many health care professionals in attendance. They reported that one compelling message they heard at the conference was a concern about the lack of communication between patients/families and health professionals. They also reported that the conference presented valuable networking opportunities and useful information in IPE and IPC, areas in which Canada surpasses the United States.

AAA's Request for RUC HCPAC Seat

At the request of the American Medical Association (AMA), representatives from ASHA, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) will attend a meeting with the AMA regarding AAA's request to become the organization that represents audiologists on the RVS Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC). The AMA created the RUC HCPAC to allow for the participation of non-physician health care professionals in the development of relative values for new and revised CPT Codes within the scope of practice of those professions.

The Board was joined via conference call by audiologist Bob Burkard, a member of ASHA's Health Care Economics Committee; audiologist Robert Fifer, ASHA representative to the RUC HCPAC; speech-language pathologist Dee Nikjeh, co-chair of the Health Care Economics Committee and alternate member of the RUC HCPAC; audiologist Stuart Trembath, chair, Health Care Economics Committee; and ASHA staff members George Lyons, director of government relations and public policy, Tim Nanof, director of health care policy and advocacy, and audiologist Steve White, consultant and former ASHA staff member. The Board reinforced its commitment 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.

Envisioned Future

ASHA's Envisioned Future was developed to provide a simple, concise picture of an ideal, desired future scenario for the organization. The existing version of the Envisioned Future describes a scenario for ASHA in 2030. At today's meeting, the Board decided that the target date of the Envisioned Future should be moved to coincide with ASHA's 100th anniversary, in 2025. They also decided that the Envisioned Future should be achievable by that date. The Board then reviewed the document in detail to consider changes to reflect the focus on achievable outcomes. The Board's revisions will be incorporated into a draft that will be finalized at an upcoming Board meeting in conjunction with ongoing strategic planning activities.

H.R. 2330, The Medicare Audiology Services Enhancement Act of 2013

The Board reviewed the member comments ASHA has received about the Medicare Audiology Services Enhancement Act of 2013. More than 1,000 members have sent information to their Congresspersons in support of H.R. 2330. The Board discussed additional ways ASHA should get the message out about how the bill moves audiology forward in the current health care system by recognizing audiologists as diagnostic and treatment providers, able to receive Medicare reimbursement for the professional services they provide. The Board also reinforced the importance of reminding members that ASHA has always supported autonomy of the professions and that H.R. 2330 does not in any way change that support, but, at this time, direct access or limited license status are not likely to be successful in the current legislative or health care climate.

Generative Discussion: Ensuring a science-based approach that supports clinical practice and gives us leverage in meeting goals for health care and education reform

Starting last year, the BOD designated time at each meeting to engage in generative discussions on 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 the role of science in guiding health care and education reform. They discussed topics such as how we would like scientists to respond to policy changes in health care and education, what can be done to facilitate productive involvement of scientists and clinicians, what factors continue to present challenges to researchers' engaging in clinical practice research, and what ASHA can do to help mitigate these challenges. The Board will be engaging other committees and boards to discuss these topics and will revisit this topic and others at future meetings.

Board Activities at Convention

Board of Directors Manager Marty Moore reviewed the Board's schedule for the 2013 ASHA Convention in Chicago 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 and the ASHA Volunteer Village at various times throughout Convention.

Board Self-Assessment

The Board engaged in a self-assessment exercise in May 2013. At today's meeting, a report was discussed that included the results of the self-assessment as well as general recommendations for the BOD to consider moving forward. Those recommendations included:

  • Consider reviewing the role of the BOD and staff annually at the January meeting in addition to at the time of orientation.
  • Continue considering optimal timing of BOD meetings to provide appropriate spacing, when possible, between meetings.
  • Look for more opportunities to ensure effective lines of communication between the Board, staff, and members.
  • Facilitate a discussion of the role of the BOD liaison to committees/boards or councils and create a "Role and Responsibilities of the BOD Liaison" to be provided to all BOD members in their orientation.
  • Continue to engage in generative discussion at BOD meetings to identify trends and frame emerging issues.

The Presidential Team will follow up on these and other recommendations that came from the full Board discussion. The Board agreed in principle with all of the recommendations and decided to implement any that can be acted on immediately and put others on hold until 2014.

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