ASHA would like to partner with members throughout the United States to educate and advocate on the federally adopted definition of the phrase rehabilitation and habilitation and the inclusion of audiology and speech-language pathology services under the defined benefit category. The new federal definition provides an opportunity to advocate for expanded coverage of habilitation services that were previously denied.
To keep the momentum going during state implementation, we request that state associations appoint a habilitation advocacy point person within the state to receive additional information and resources from ASHA. That person could be a State Advocate for Reimbursement (STAR) representative or another individual willing to work on such an initiative. To date, volunteers have been identified for Louisiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, and several additional STARs have expressed an interest.
ASHA will host a webinar in late January geared toward informing the appointed habilitation point people in each state on how to monitor and advocate for habilitation coverage.
In September, ASHA announced the development of the document, Essential Coverage: Rehabilitation and Habilitation Services and Devices [PDF]. The document explains the role of audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in providing services to clients who require rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices for the purpose of educating and advocating within their state to maximize coverage of member services. The guide contains the federally adopted definition of rehabilitation and habilitation and provides clinical examples of medically necessary audiology and speech-language pathology services under the defined benefit category.
If you are interested in serving as the habilitation advocacy point person in your state, please contact Daneen Grooms, ASHA's director of health reform analysis and advocacy, at email@example.com, and please inform your state association president. More than one participant is welcome in each state as long as it is coordinated with your state association.
Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact your ASHA state liaison [PDF] or Daneen Grooms, ASHA's director of health reform analysis and advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.