On January 30, 2014, for the first time, the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology were represented independently at the winter meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC). Previously, the professions were represented together with one voting member on the RUC HCPAC.
The profession of speech-language pathology is represented by Dee Adams Nikjeh, PhD, CCC-SLP, for ASHA. Dr. Nikjeh currently serves as the primary representative and Carmen Vega-Barachowitz, MS, CCC-SLP, serves as the alternate. ASHA and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) share the audiology seat, with ASHA serving as the primary representative and AAA as the alternate in 2014. The roles for the audiology seat will then alternate between AAA and ASHA on an annual basis. Leisha Eiten, AuD, CCC-A, is the current primary audiology representative with Paul Pessis, AuD, as the alternate.
Independent representation for speech-language pathology increases ASHA's role on the RUC HCPAC, while the continuing representation of audiology in a seat now held jointly by ASHA and AAA will expand opportunities for collaboration between audiology organizations.
The RUC HCPAC was created by the AMA to allow for participation in the development of relative values for new and revised Current Procedural Terminology (CPT® American Medical Association) 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.
In October 2013, the RUC HCPAC decided to create separate representation for speech-language pathology through ASHA. ASHA and AAA were asked to share representation for audiology.
For additional information, please contact Tim Nanof, ASHA's director of health care policy and advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.