ASHA has awarded grants to 13 state associations to help the organizations pursue state-level grassroots advocacy projects. Six of the grants are for personnel-related projects; seven are for reimbursement-related activities.
Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas will receive grants this year that address personnel issues in education or health care settings.
- The Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association is developing online information on the qualifications of speech-language pathologists, speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs), and speech-language technicians. This information will be used as part of a grassroots effort to educate students, school administrators, state legislators, and parents.
- The Colorado Speech-Language-Hearing Association's grant will be used to continue to build support for the passage of licensure for SLPs. Colorado is one of only two states that do not license SLPs.
- The Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists' SLP Leadership Network will receive assistance in implementing a workload analysis in the state's school districts. The association also will continue efforts to raise the awareness of local policymakers regarding the workload approach.
- The New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association will hire a public relations firm to assess the best use of association-developed public service announcements on the role of SLPs and audiologists. The association also will create materials on the professions to enhance consumer awareness.
- The Oklahoma Speech-Language-Hearing Association will create a Multicultural Advisory Council to develop guidelines and recommendations for working with individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds and will help state universities incorporate the guidelines into existing and future academic curricula and clinical practica. The organization also will develop a database of providers experienced in the needs of the CLD population.
- The Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association will use its personnel grant to develop training modules to increase the knowledge, skills, and competencies of SLPAs working in schools. They will work with education service centers to provide training to SLPAs and SLP supervisors via webinars in the various regions of the state.
- Reimbursement grants support projects that improve private health plans and Medicaid reimbursement for and coverage of speech-language pathology and audiology services. Alaska, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Virginia, and Washington will receive 2011 reimbursement grants.
- The Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association will address Medicaid speech-language pathology provider confusion and punitive audits by creating a process of collaboration with key administrators and developing a provider manual specific to speech-language pathology.
- The California Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Washington Speech and Hearing Association will build a solid foundation for future health care reimbursement advocacy efforts by developing networks of audiology and speech-language pathology members to help identify and address reimbursement issues in their respective states. The California association also will develop educational seminars on reimbursement issues, based on feedback from a survey. The Washington association will research private health insurance benefits across the state to identify and expand advocacy efforts with insurers who fail to reach selected benchmarks.
- In Minnesota, grant funds will be used to bring together a group of stakeholders to identify and collect data on critical reimbursement issues. This information will help focus and strengthen future reimbursement advocacy efforts in the state.
- The Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association will address statewide non-coverage of hearing aids and cochlear implants by convening a working group to research the current demand for mandated insurance coverage and the possible benefits and/or costs to the state. The working group will use its research to create a bill calling for insurance reimbursement of hearing aids and cochlear implants.
- The Idaho Speech, Language, Hearing Association will continue its efforts to raise awareness about speech-language pathology and audiology services and to encourage SLPs and audiologists to participate in reimbursement advocacy. In 2010, Idaho developed a web video to educate stakeholders about the benefits of speech-language pathology services; the 2011 grant will help develop a similar presentation for audiology services.
- The Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia will provide advanced training about the Virginia legislative and regulatory process in an effort to enhance advocacy for audiology and speech-language pathology reimbursement by Medicaid and private health insurance.
For information on how to become active as an advocate on state issues, visit ASHA's state advocacy webpage.