ASHA's Board of Directors Meeting Report: October 25-27, 2013

The Board of Directors (BOD) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) met on October 25, 26, and 27, 2013, at the ASHA National Office. Following are highlights of the Board's discussions.

President's Welcome

President Patty Prelock convened the meeting at 1:15 p.m., Friday, October 25. The Board meeting followed a day-long orientation for newly elected Board members on Wednesday and a retreat and planning session for the entire Board on Thursday. Newly elected members include 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. They will begin their 3-year terms January 1, 2014. New Board members do not vote, but were invited to participate fully in discussions during the Board's October meeting.

President Prelock welcomed the new Board members and reviewed the meeting agenda. She thanked the members who will be leaving the Board at the end of this year. Completing their terms of service are Immediate Past President Shelly Chabon, Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore, Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Neil Shepard, and Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology Jennifer Watson.

Patty then shared her recent experiences with ASHA's new Identify the Signs campaign. On September 18, she did more than 20 interviews with broadcast media across the country to help launch the campaign, which stems from a spring 2013 poll of ASHA members that indicated the need for greater public awareness of the warning signs of communication disorders. Patty reminded the Board of the many resources available to members and the public on the Identify the Signs website. In particular, she pointed out the member toolkit, created to help members communicate the messages of the campaign in their respective locations.

Chief Executive Officer Update

Besides the written summary provided to all Board members, Chief Executive Officer Arlene Pietranton updated the Board about a number of items:

As of October 25, there were 11,412 total registrants for Convention. That figure signifies trending of approximately 25% ahead of last year. So far there are 265 registered exhibitors compared with a total of 278 for the previous Convention in Chicago.

After lengthy and careful deliberation and an assessment of available space and resources, ASHA decided to move the 2015 Convention venue from Phoenix to Denver. Because of the growth of Convention since our original discussions, we determined that Phoenix would be unable to meet our needs for program and meeting space and for hotel rooms.

Changes to the International Affiliate program that became effective in September 2012 are having a positive impact on our numbers of international affiliates:

  • 2010—245 at end of year; 41 countries
  • 2011—263 at end of year; 40 countries
  • 2012—267 at end of year; 42 countries
  • 2013—408 as of September 30, 2013; 55 countries

More than 70,000 members have logged into the ASHA Community since its launch in October 2011; more than 36,000 messages have been posted by our members. In August 2013, 31% of the visits to the Community originated from a smartphone or tablet device. In response to this trend, ASHA launched the ASHA Community Mobile App on August 27, 2013. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

2013 Financial Summary Report

Vice President for Finance Carolyn Higdon updated the Board regarding ASHA's financial performance through August 2013. She reported that dues income is ahead of last year's as a result of growth in membership and ASHA's high retention rate. This year's non-dues revenue is running slightly ahead of 2012's. Expenses are running on budget. ASHA is operating at positive revenue over expenses for 2013. Carolyn reported that she anticipates ASHA will be on budget this year.

Financial Education Segment

Carolyn presented an overview of the Board's fiduciary responsibilities. Those responsibilities fit into three primary categories: a duty of care, making prudent decisions; a duty of loyalty, being loyal to the organization and not to personal best interest; and a duty of obedience, which requires directors to act in furtherance of the organization's goals and mission as stated in the articles of incorporation and bylaws. This overview was the final segment of four financial education program presentations planned for the 2013 Board.

Proposed 2014 Budget

The Financial Planning Board (FPB) met in September and reviewed the proposed 2014 budget in detail. The proposed 2014 budget, which projects modest positive revenue over expenses in 2014, was presented to the Board with the FPB recommendation that it be approved. For 2014, with the expected growth in membership, we are forecasting an increase in revenue. No dues increase is planned in the 2014 budget. A modest increase in non-dues revenue is also forecasted. The budget reflects a small expense increase in 2014. After discussion, the Board voted to keep the dues at the current level and to approve the 2014 budget.

BOD 21-2013, SIG Professional Development Manager

BOD 21-2013 creates the position of professional development manager (PDM) to be added to the Coordinating Committee of each Special Interest Group (SIG), increasing the number of Coordinating Committee members in each SIG by one. Since the restructuring of the Special Interest Program, professional development responsibilities have gained greater importance to the program and the Association. Each SIG is required to provide self-study examinations for its Perspectives, develop and submit a minimum of two invited sessions for Convention, and provide a representative to one Convention topic committee. Also, to further the integration of SIG activities into the work of the Association, SIGs provide input to ASHA's Professional Development unit (APD) regarding the continuing education (CE) needs of their affiliates and share their subject-matter expertise in the development of ASHA-sponsored CE offerings.

To ensure adequate oversight and execution of these requirements, the Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators (BSIGC) recommended that a PDM be added to each Coordinating Committee. The Task Force Report on Special Interest Division Structure restructuring document was conceived as a dynamic plan that would be revised to address evolving programmatic needs. The BSIGC believes that this request represents the intent of that report. Prior to today's meeting, the Board requested and received feedback from the Scientific and Professional Education Board regarding this resolution. After a discussion, led by Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice Gail Richard, Vice President for Audiology Practice Donna Fisher Smiley, and Director of Special Interest Groups Michelle Ferketic, the Board approved the resolution.

RUC HCPAC Seat Update

Theresa Rodgers, vice president for government relations and public policy (GRPP); speech-language pathologist (SLP) 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 George Lyons, director of GRPP, updated the Board about a recent decision by the American Medical Association (AMA). Based on provisions of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act that permitted SLPs to independently report services they provide to Medicare, the AMA decided to create a separate seat for Speech-Language Pathology on the RVS Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC). In addition it was determined that the seat for audiology would be shared jointly between ASHA and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) because of both groups’ substantial audiology membership.

Prior to this change there was a single seat on the RUC HCPAC for both audiology and speech-language pathology. The change was effective at the October 2013 RUC HCPAC meeting and will be implemented beginning on January 1, 2014. On that date ASHA will appoint the member and alternate for the speech-language pathology seat and will also appoint the member for the audiology seat. AAA will appoint the alternate for the audiology seat for 2014. The member and alternate roles for audiology will subsequently rotate on an annual basis. The Board believes that this change will help support and strengthen ASHA’s collaborative efforts with AAA and all other audiology organizations while also increasing the representation of speech-language pathology.

2014 Public Policy Agenda

Vice President for GRPP Theresa Rodgers and GRPP Director George Lyons presented ASHA's 2014 Public Policy Agenda (PPA). Input for the development of the 2014 PPA was provided through responses to a focused survey that was posted on ASHA's community sites, ASHA Headlines, and ASHA's website. Additional outreach was made to ASHA's boards and committees, Special Interest Groups, and state association leadership. Of the more than 35,000 ASHA members surveyed, 1,662 responses were received. Audiologists and SLPs showed strong agreement in ranking the importance of the issues. Based on the current alternating year schedule, next year's survey will be sent to all ASHA members.

The 2014 PPA identifies 12 broad issues and policy areas of concern to members. The issue objectives were developed through the GRPP Board to focus and strategically plan the Association's advocacy and policy initiatives. The Agenda focuses on issues facing the professions at the federal and/or state levels. The GRPPB undertook this work with the understanding that a common thread runs throughout the Agenda: underlying each issue objective are foundational principles, such as ethics, diversity, evidence-based practice, and collaboration. The 12 broad issues are:

Federal Level

  • Medicare Reimbursement and Coverage Policies
  • Reauthorization of Federal Education Legislation

Federal and State Level

  • Funding and Practice Issues for School-Based Services
  • Hearing Health Care
  • Medicaid Reimbursement and Coverage Policies
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Private Health Plans Reimbursement and Coverage Policies
  • Telepractice

State Level

  • Loan Forgiveness as a Recruitment and Retention Tool
  • Comprehensive Licensure
  • Service Continuum
  • State Consultants

These issues address the major concerns of audiologists, SLPs, and speech, language, and hearing scientists before federal and state governments.

After discussion, the Board voted to approve the 2014 PPA. Members interested in reviewing the 2014 PPA can find it at after November 1 at

ASHFoundation Annual Report to the BOD

ASHFoundation President Jon Miller and ASHFoundation Executive Director Nancy Minghetti provided the Board with a review of the foundation's key programs and activities for 2013. They reported that the foundation awarded more than half a million dollars in 2012 and will award that amount again in 2013. Funding was distributed in three major categoriesóresearch grants, scholarship programs, and clinical achievement programs. Announcements of awards will be made in November at Convention.

BOD Education Subgroup Update

Immediate Past President Shelly Chabon, Chief Staff Officer for Audiology Neil DiSarno, and Chief Staff Officer for Science and Research Margaret Rogers updated the Board about the work of the Audiology Subcommittee/Education Working Group. The subgroup was charged with developing three key questions on the value of audiology education and undergraduate education for audiologists and SLPs in order to engage other groups in discussions about current educational models in the professions. They reported that, since July, they have drafted questions, collected feedback, and then utilized that feedback to develop questions for the current discussion. The subgroup asked the Board to consider if they should limit the questions to those that address undergraduate education and preparation of future clinicians; if they should exclude issues about encroachment; and if they should exclude issues about PhD shortages. The Board agreed that a motion from this subgroup should be developed to form an ad hoc committee to further define and accomplish the objectives of this working group.

Trends and Issues

Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology Neil Shepard provided a status report on the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Interprofessional Education. The committee was charged with developing specific actions that address education and core competencies of interprofessional education related to reimbursement models for students and members. The committee's members include three audiologists, three SLPs, a physical therapist, a nurse, and a rehabilitation physician. Neil reported that the committee's report will be ready to go to the BOD by November of this year.

He also reminded the Board that the Ad Hoc Committee on Supervision report is now available for review by the Board. The charge of that committee was to develop specific recommendations as to the knowledge and skills needed for training supervision of five target groups, including (1) speech-language pathology and audiology students in training and practicing clinicians for being able to supervise assistants; (2) university-based clinical faculty of audiology/speech-language pathology training programs who supervise students; (3) community-based practicing clinicians serving as extern site supervisors/preceptors to graduate speech-language pathology or audiology students; (4) practicing SLPs who supervise/mentor Clinical Fellows; and (5) SLPs/audiologists supervising credentialed colleagues who are changing their primary clinical focus.

The committee, comprising members of ASHA's Academic Affairs Board, the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and SIG 11 (Administration and Supervision), also made recommendations concerning the development and implementation of comprehensive and systematic training to strengthen educational opportunities in the area of supervision.

Envisioned Future

At the July 2013 meeting, the Board agreed that the content of the Envisioned Future document should be seen as achievable versus aspirational and agreed to revise the culmination date from 2030 to 2025, to coincide with the ASHA's 100 year anniversary. At today's meeting, Vice President for Planning Barbara Moore and Director of the Office of Business Excellence Deborah Sartin led the Board in a discussion of issues or concerns the Board may have with the content or achievability of the revised Envisioned Future. The Board identified priorities for the Association to address in order to achieve the Envisioned Future. The Strategic Pathway will be revised in 2014 to align with the Envisioned Future.

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 will assume fiduciary responsibility for NSSLHA, while NSSLHA remains a separate organization under the ASHA umbrella, with its own Board and student-led Executive Council. At today's meeting, President Prelock and NSSLHA National Advisor Carlin Hageman led the Board in a discussion about the integration process. The Board discussed ways to support and enhance the strong collaborative efforts between NSSLHA and ASHA and to provide fiduciary oversight by the Association via the soon-to-be-established NSSLHA Board of Directors.

Generative Discussion: Member Communications

Starting in 2012, the BOD designates 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. The topic for the October meeting was developing ways for the Board of Directors to enhance its communication to ASHA members. The Board determined that a member of the Board would assume the role of ambassador for the Association to members and considered whether that role might be extended to other volunteer leaders. The Board also discussed ways to improve their outreach to state associations and other member forums. Staff and members of the 2014 Board will use the ideas generated from these discussions to enhance member outreach efforts.

Certification Research/Communication

Chief Staff Officer for Communications Marty Rome updated the Board about a research project that will be undertaken in 2013 and 2014 to look at the perceived value of Certification by key non-member constituents. The data from surveys will be used to help ASHA better understand the perceptions of important audiences regarding Certification.

Review of Recommendations From the Ad Hoc Committee on Committees, Boards, and Councils

In 2012, the Ad Hoc Committee on Committees, Boards, and Councils (CBC) was given the charge to (a) evaluate ASHA's current committee, board, and council (e.g., Advisory Councils) structure and processes, including the election/appointment of members, and (b) further develop recommendations for enhancing that structure and related processes. At today's meeting, Chair of the Committee and former Board member Robert Augustine, Chair of the Audiology Advisory Council Wayne Foster, and Vice President for GRPP Theresa Rodgers reviewed the 16 committee recommendations. The Board sought clarification and discussed the implications of each of the recommendations; the Board agreed to further review the CBC report and discuss and vote on the recommendations at the Board's January 2014 meeting.

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 members will be involved in various activities, beginning on Wednesday and ending on Sunday morning. They will attend a variety of sessions and activities as presenters, participants, and active supporters; be available at the Member Forum on Saturday at noon, in room 184A of McCormick Place; and make themselves available, at various times throughout Convention, at the ASHA Volunteer Village and Lounge in the main hall near the poster session entrance.

I hope to see you at Convention and the Member Forum!

ASHA Corporate Partners