Board of Directors Meeting Report: June 7-9, 2013

ASHA's Board of Directors (BOD) met at the National Office on June 7, 8, and 9. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions.

President's Opening Remarks

President Patty Prelock convened the meeting at 9:00 a.m., Friday, June 7, and began by congratulating the four new Board members elected last week: President-Elect Judith Page; Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Barbara Cone; Vice President for Planning Edie Hapner, and Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology Lissa Power-deFur. The new Board members will participate in the Board retreat in October and begin their 3-year terms of office on January 1, 2014.

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 work on developing the Practice Portal is progressing well. As of June, there will be five clinical disorder topics (aphasia, superior canal dehiscence, pediatric dysphagia, permanent childhood hearing loss, and social communication disorders) available. There are another 10 clinical topics that are under development. Since March 24, when the site went live, there have been 29,623 unique page views. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and members have been eager to provide feedback and participate in the review process.
  • The ASHA-PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) Project is a collaborative effort with our South American colleagues focusing on three countries for the initial collaboration: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guyana. On a conference call with representatives from Honduras, a desire was expressed for technical assistance in reviewing the curriculum content for phonoaudiology and for the participation of professors and experts identified by ASHA for the initial development of courses. In El Salvador there is a need of technical assistance to train speech-language pathologists and audiologists. A call with representatives from Guyana will be scheduled soon.   
  • ASHA's journals program is growing. Between 2003 and 2012, the number of pages published has increased 129% for AJA; 34% for AJSLP; 33% for JSLHR; and 73% for LSHSS.
  • In January of this year a newly redesigned ASHA Leader debuted. Based on members' input indicating that they'd like a smaller, easier to navigate Leader, the former tabloid was replaced with an easy-to-carry-and-copy monthly magazine. The new Leader gives more of a voice to the members and a greater opportunity to showcase what they do in their clinical work and programs of research. With six issues of the new Leader off the presses, ASHA has received very positive feedback about the new format.
  • ASHA has rented space on the fifth floor of the National Office to a law firm. This provides additional non-dues revenue to the Association. At this time, 1,600 square feet remain available for rental.
  • ASHA has signed an agreement with Verizon wherein they will rent space on the roof of the National Office for an abbreviated cell tower. The cell tower will not be visible from the road and will allow for improved reception in the building.

Financial Report

Vice President for Finance Carolyn Higdon reported on ASHA's 2013 financial performance. As of April 30, 2013, dues revenue and non-dues revenue showed small increases over 2012. Expenses are tracking as budgeted. ASHA is forecasting positive revenue over expenses in 2013. Carolyn also shared the 2012 report from ASHA's auditors, Grant Thornton LLP. Grant Thornton reported that, “in all material respects, the financial position of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association as of December 31, 2012, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for the year then ended are in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.” The Board voted to accept the auditors' report.

Carolyn presented Investments 101 to the Board. This is an overview of ASHA's investments and is the second of four financial education program presentations planned for the 2013 Board.

The Board also reviewed ASHA's long-term investment performance as of April 30, 2013. Carolyn reported steady growth in ASHA's investments as a result of strong market performance and the overall performance by ASHA's investment advisors. As of April 30, ASHA's long-term investments are valued at $34.91 million.

Special Opportunities Fund

Resolution BOD 16-2013 authorizes ASHA to use money from the Special Opportunities Fund for expenses associated with implementing the Silverchair hosting platform for the digital publishing of the ASHA journals, the Special Interest Groups' Perspectives, and the electronic version of the ASHA Leader. The Special Opportunities Fund was created to make funds available for time-critical activities that benefit the professions or the Association. Silverchair's hosting platform features multimedia, social media, and interactive accompaniment for all digital publications, as well as integrated mobile delivery and intelligent searches of content. After discussion of the benefits of this new hosting platform, the Board voted to fund the implementation of the Silverchair hosting platform from the Special Opportunities Fund.

The Board also discussed the possibility of transitioning the NSSLHA publication, Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, onto Silverchair. The BOD agreed to revisit this issue following a meeting in August between ASHA and NSSLHA so that this transition could be evaluated in the full context of the status of the ongoing integration of the two organizations.

Mission Statement Review

In 2012, at the request of a group of members, the Board discussed changing ASHA's mission statement. After significant deliberation and widespread member review, the Board finalized a revised mission statement. The Board was mindful that a mission statement is intended to describe the organization's purpose (i.e., why the organization exists), what the organization does (i.e., how we fulfill our organizational purpose), and who the organization serves (i.e., the primary customer/stakeholder) and voted to approve the new mission statement which reads as follows:

Empowering and supporting audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists through:

  • advancing science,
  • setting standards,
  • fostering excellence in professional practice, and
  • advocating for members and those they serve.

The new mission statement will be immediately posted on online locations, but to keep costs down it will be updated in printed materials when they are regularly scheduled for reprinting.

National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) Update

Chief Staff Officer for Science and Research Margaret Rogers and Rob Mullen, director of the National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders, updated the Board about the new NOMS system that is launching this year to be ready to respond to the changes to Medicare reimbursements provided for covered services. Rob reported that the current version of NOMS is being updated to reflect changes to Medicare reporting that will go into effect on July 1, 2013. After that date, SLPs who serve Medicare Part B patients will need to report certain data, either by participating in NOMS or using another system, in order to be reimbursed for services by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The new NOMS will be ready to launch July 1. Communication to members has been taking place throughout the year and will be increasing in June. Thousands of members have already registered and been trained to use the system. Members or facilities who wish to register for NOMS should go to ASHA's website for more information.

Reports From Vice Presidents

Vice President for Science and Research Howard Goldstein and CSO for Science and Research Margaret Rogers updated the Board about the Advisory Committee on Evidence-Based Practice (ACEBP). Given the number of other activities in the area of evidence-based practice that are underway, a recommendation was made to suspend or “pause” the ACEBP for a 1-year period to enable the stakeholders to determine what the role and charge of the ACEBP should be moving forward. They reported that half of the members of ACEBP would be newly appointed in 2014, including the chair, and the other half of the eight-member committee were just appointed in 2013 and have not yet become engaged in any projects. In light of the new ad hoc committees related to NOMS, there do not appear to be impending deadlines for ongoing committee projects. By suspending the work of the committee for 1 year, the Science Advisory Board (SAB), which is charged with overseeing the charges of all the science and research committees and boards, would be able devote time to considering the former charge to ACEBP, to assessing whether aspects of the committee's original charge may have become outdated, and to determining what the committee's charge should be in the future. After discussion, the Board decided to suspend this committee's operations for 1 year and asked that at the end of 1 year the SAB bring a recommendation about the future of the ACEBP to the Board.

President-Elect Liz McCrea requested that individual ASHA Board members contribute a prize to be used at the ASHFoundation raffle at the Schools Conference in July. The Board agreed to contribute a prize for this event.

Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster and Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Theresa Rodgers reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Committee, Board, and Council Structure Review is nearly finished with its report. Wayne reminded the Board that the current structure has been in place since 1973 and is largely a task-driven model. The Ad Hoc committee interviewed volunteers and they have reached out to other associations about committees and boards are managed in their organizations. The vision the Ad Hoc Committee has established is one where committee/board/council structure is strategically driven and aligned with the current ASHA governance model. The ad hoc committee report is expected to be sent to the Board by September 1.

Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy Theresa Rodgers reported on the progress toward development of the 2014 Public Policy Agenda (PPA). A more targeted communications approach was initiated this year to obtain feedback on the new PPA. Theresa reports that this process appears to have been very successful. Members can still comment on the Public Policy Agenda through Friday, June 14. 

Immediate Past President Shelly Chabon reported that an increased percentage of members voted in the recent ASHA election, which represented an increase of 1,475 votes over 2012. Though this is an improvement over 2012, Shelly reminded the Board that ASHA should continue to look for ways to increase the number of members who participate in ASHA elections.

Generative Discussion: The Changing Role of SLPs and Audiologists in the New Health Care and Education Landscape

Starting last year, the BOD has designated time at each meeting to engage in generative discussions 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. At this meeting, the Board discussed the changing roles of SLPs and audiologists in the new health care and education landscape, and discussed what interprofessional collaborative practice might look like for our professions in the following areas:

  • models of service delivery (e.g., consultation, participation in episodes of care vs. fee for services, integrated models of service delivery, medical homes)
  • prevention
  • health communication or health literacy
  • demonstrating the value we add to the health care or education team
  • using support personnel, extenders, other disciplines, and families as part of a continuum of service provision

The Board will be engaging other committees and boards to discuss these topics as well and will revisit this topic and others at future meetings.

Committee on Committees Appointments

The Board convened in its role as the Committee on Committees and discussed appointments to a variety of committees and boards for terms to begin on January 1, 2014.

Advisory Council (AC) Reports

Chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council Perry Flynn and Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster led a discussion with the Board regarding what additional input and insights are needed from the Advisory Council members to facilitate the Board's thinking about future generative topics. They also mentioned that a comprehensive summary of the March AC meeting has been posted to the Board collaboration site and that they have begun a series of webinars focused on specific topics to engage AC members. The next AC webinar will focus on government relations and public policy.

Healthcare Landscape Summit: Review of Prioritized Recommendations

Three areas with a high priority for action resulted from the 2012 Healthcare Landscape Summit. At today's Board meeting, progress toward implementation of each of those recommendations was reviewed by the Board.

Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Neil Shepard and Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmie McNeilly reported on the status of the summit recommendation related to education and interprofessional education (IPE) core competencies.

  • The Board of Directors established an ad hoc committee charged with developing specific actions that address education and core competencies of IPE related to reimbursement models for students and members.
  • Patty Prelock and Kenn Apel presented a session at the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders conference in which they shared results of a survey of academic program activities related to IPE. They also shared specific activities that they are involved in at their respective academic institutions.
  • Lemmie McNeilly, who serves as ASHA's representative to the Global Forum on Interprofessional Health Education, reported that a summary of their recent meeting will be posted to the BOD collaboration site.
  • ASHA is developing a brochure on IPE that will be distributed at an upcoming IPE conference and will be available for ASHA members.
  • The Researcher-Academic Town Meeting at this year's convention will be held jointly this year with ASHA's Continuing Education Board Providers Workshop and will feature Barbara Brandt, Director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Associate Vice President for Education of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota.

Gail Richard, Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice, and Donna Smiley, Vice President for Audiology Practice, discussed activities around reframing the Professions.

  • The BOD approved the establishment of an ad hoc committee charged with identifying specific elements to reframe the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology and to meet the changing needs in both the health care arena and educational settings. The committee will determine overarching goals and strategies for implementation. The members of the ad hoc committee represent both professions and a variety of employment settings.
  • Vice President for Science and Research Howard Goldstein, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Neil Shepard, and Chief Staff Officer for Science and Research Margaret Rogers discussed actions taken around the summit recommendations related to Outcomes/Databases/Quality Improvement.
  • With the impending changes to the NOMS system, the Board recently approved a number of ad hoc committees to work with N-CEP on specific issues related to outcomes data collection. Three ad hoc committees will be convened later this year and will work at least through 2015. The three committee topics are (1) developing a framework for a treatment taxonomy so that treatment codes can be integrated into the next generation of NOMS, (2) developing patient-reported outcome measures for SLP health care, and (3) identifying outcomes measurement needs for audiology.

Associates Program Update

Chief Staff Officer for Communications Marty Rome provided a report about ASHA's Associates program. He reviewed the history of the program's development and reminded the Board that it was decided that though ASHA would aggressively recruit new affiliates, we would carefully control the program investments in the first 3 years and evaluate the program after that time to determine if any changes are needed to either the communications strategy or the benefits provided to Associates. A full evaluation of the Associates program will take place in the first quarter of 2015. As of June 1 of this year, there are 330 Associates. A variety of communications activities are planned throughout 2013 and 2014 to recruit new affiliates into the program.

Audiology Education

Neil Shepard, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology led the Board in a discussion about the current model of audiology education with a focus on whether this topic is one that should be explored, and if so, by whom and via what process. After discussion, the Board decided since numerous other boards, committees, councils, and related entities have an interest in this topic, they should be consulted about their views. Immediate Past President Shelly Chabon was asked to convene a subgroup of Board members to consider how to best engage other entities in this conversation.  

Member Request Discussion

ASHA received a request from a member asking that the Board consider developing a task force to include SLPs, educators, counselors, consumers, and other relevant stakeholders involved in anti-bullying activities. After thorough discussion, the Board agreed that this area is closely aligned with our members' scope of practice, and ASHA should collaborate with other professional organizations that have specific expertise in this area and already have initiatives underway addressing this issue. ASHA staff will follow up on this suggestion.

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