Thirteen ASHA-recognized state associations have received one-year ASHA grants totaling $60,000 to support grassroots advocacy projects related to state personnel and reimbursement issues in communication sciences and disorders (CSD).
ASHA awarded 2012 personnel grants to the associations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
- In California, the grant will be used to improve the association's web-based information on the professions for consumers, related and allied professionals, legislators and other government leaders, and association members. Plans also include development of videos on the professions to post on the association website and YouTube, and to use at featured media events. The association will also use social media to promote the professions.
- Colorado, the only state that does not license speech-language pathologists, will use its funds to promote certification legislation via grassroots networking, website postings, and a lobbyist.
- Connecticut will address the shortage of SLPs by marketing the professions to non-CSD undergraduate college students. Plans include development of a Sacred Heart University undergraduate film class on communication disorders as they are portrayed in the popular media; a movie night for families of children with disabilities hosted by undergraduate students; and opportunities for students interested in the professions to meet with state association members and faculty from the speech-language pathology program.
- Florida's state association will offer work sessions with speech-language pathology leaders for leadership, professional, and communication skills development to support grassroots efforts on workload issues.
- Illinois leaders plan to work with the state education department to develop an online program to train SLPs to supervise speech-language pathology assistants as required by state law, as well as an ad campaign for the program.
- Minnesota's grant will be used to gather data on the shortage of SLPs and audiologists in the state. The association will hold a town hall meeting and establish a coalition of stakeholders to address the issue.
- To increase consumers', legislators', and other stakeholders' awareness of the credentials needed for SLPs and audiologists, the New York association will launch a public awareness campaign that will include social media use, an ad campaign for specific target groups, and a video public service announcement.
- South Carolina plans to build a coalition of stakeholders that will focus on recruitment and retention issues to address the shortages of school-based SLPs.
- The South Dakota grant will be used to develop radio and television public service announcements to increase awareness of the professions and help reduce the personnel shortage. Efforts include developing a website for consumers and professionals that posts job listings, promotes mentoring opportunities, and educates policy-makers on the need for highly qualified professionals.
Reimbursement grants support efforts to improve private health plan and Medicaid reimbursement for and coverage of speech-language pathology and audiology services.
- Georgia will hire legal counsel to review Medicaid HMO contracts and manuals and communicate concerns on their clarity, uniformity, and fairness with Medicaid officials. State leaders also will arrange meetings with key legislators to discuss the problems with Medicaid HMOs and keep them informed of efforts to resolve them.
- In Kansas, grant funds will be used to advocate for non-physician Medicaid provider status for private-practice SLPs, who may not, under current law, bill Medicaid directly. The association will reach out to legislators and key decision-makers and coordinate with other groups, such as occupational therapists, that do not have provider status.
- Idaho and Massachusetts will use grant funds to improve technology, giving them new ways to support reimbursement advocacy efforts and engage members. The Idaho association will establish a listserv that will allow members to network with one another and allow association leaders to communicate more effectively with members on reimbursement advocacy issues. The Massachusetts association will create a web portal on advocacy and legislation that will provide an effective way to disseminate reimbursement information and promote member participation in advocacy efforts.
For information on getting involved in state advocacy, visit ASHA's advocacy webpage.