Access Audiology Highlights Hearing Loss Prevention
The May issue of ASHA Access Audiology focuses on audiology and hearing loss prevention. Approximately one in 22 newborns and one in three people older than 65 in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. According to content in the issue, although not all hearing loss is preventable, the audiologist's role in promoting hearing health ranks with habilitation and rehabilitation.
ASHA Access Audiology is a bimonthly clinical audiology e-newsletter. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail with the word "subscribe" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch for the 2013 SIG Coordinating Committee Elections
Eligible affiliates of several ASHA Special Interest Groups will soon vote for members of their respective Coordinating Committees. Each SIG Coordinating Committee plans activities and events (such as Perspectives and convention short courses).
If you are a Special Interest Group affiliate, make sure your contact information is correct in the Membership Directory so that you receive login and voting instructions for the 2013 elections. For more information, including which SIGs are not holding elections, visit Special Interest Groups News and Announcements.
ASHA CE Courses Offer Transparency
All ASHA-approved continuing education providers must disclose information about course content, financial and nonfinancial support for the course, and instructors. This information allows potential attendees to make an informed decision about taking the course.
The ASHA Continuing Education Board requirement relates to transparency in course delivery, presenters and marketing. Under this requirement, a course that focuses on a particular product or service, while providing little or no information about similar products or services, must disclose this information in promotional materials. In addition, promotional material must disclose whether the presenters have financial or nonfinancial relationships relevant to course content.
In a financial relationship, the presenter benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, gift, speaking fee, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest or other financial benefit. A nonfinancial relationship—personal, professional, political, institutional or religious, for example—is one that may bias a presenter.
Disclosure can provide additional information that may influence your decision to sign up for a course. For example, an instructor with a reputation for expertise in autism spectrum disorders discloses a relevant nonfinancial relationship: The instructor's brother has autism, and the instructor may have personal insights and practical information that align with your learning needs. Or perhaps an instructor discloses a relevant financial relationship—a grant from a specific organization—and you are also interested in applying to that organization for a grant.
Ads and other materials promoting courses for ASHA CEUs should include the instructor's relevant financial and nonfinancial disclosures. If there are many instructors, the ASHA-approved CE provider may provide a web address for this information online.
For more information about the transparency requirement, visit our transparency resource page. Specific information about presenter disclosure is available at our CE presenters site.
Did You Know?
- The ASHA website has extensive information on billing and reimbursement for audiology and speech-language pathology services related to Medicare, Medicaid, private health plans and billing codes.
- ASHA advocates the use of telepractice to overcome service-access barriers caused by distance, unavailability of clinicians and impaired mobility. If you are interested in telepractice, check out our telepractice resource.
- You don't need to wonder if a practice decision you are considering is allowed under ASHA's Code of Ethics—you can access the complete code online.
- ASHA has several award programs that foster leadership and promote careers in academia and research. Check out opportunities for under-graduate, master's, AuD and PhD students in communication sciences and disorders programs; postdoctoral fellows; and early- and mid-career faculty.
Students: Save on ASHA Membership
Speech-language pathology and audiology master's and doctoral students who graduate in 2013 can tap two programs that reduce the cost of first-year ASHA dues.
Graduates who were members of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association in 2012 and 2013 are eligible for a conversion discount. Under this program, graduates receive a $225 reduction in ASHA membership and certification fees. This benefit is exclusive to students who have maintained two or more consecutive years of national membership with NSSLHA. For more information, visit the NSSLHA to ASHA Membership Conversion Discount webpage.
In addition to the NSSLHA conversion discount, all graduates may benefit from ASHA's Gift to the Grad program. This program provides up to 20 months of membership benefits to students applying for membership and certification from May 1 through Aug. 31. Gift to the Grad rewards students for joining ASHA immediately after graduation, and maintains the graduate's access to ASHA benefits and services during a clinical fellowship or externship. Current and recent graduates who join ASHA between May 1 and Aug. 31, 2013, will receive membership and certification through Dec. 31, 2014.
To be eligible, students must:
- Complete a graduate program in audiology or speech-language pathology.
- Apply by August 31 of the year following graduation.
For program details, visit the FAQ page.
Certification to Replace Recognition in Clinical Specialty Program
The new Clinical Specialty Certification Program, approved in 2012 by the ASHA Board of Directors to replace the Clinical Specialty Recognition Program, will be available to ASHA members beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
The purpose of the CSC program remains consistent with that of the clinical specialization program: to provide a mechanism by which the public can identify practitioners with specialized clinical education and experience, and by which practitioners can specify the nature of the clinical practice they provide.
This specialty certification program allows ASHA member speech-language pathologists and audiologists to enhance their professional trajectory with a formalized credential for advanced practice. Consumers will be able to:
- Easily identify professionals with recognized specialty areas through the "Board-Certified Specialist" designator.
- Learn more about the professions and all related credentials.
- Monitor "high-risk" areas of practice and possibly solicit petitioning groups in identified areas.
- Receive services from professionals who demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in a specialty area.
For more information, visit our CSC page, or contact the existing specialty boards on child language, fluency, swallowing or neurophysiological intraoperative monitoring.
Specialty Recognition in Neurophysiological Intraoperative Monitoring
The American Audiology Board on Intraoperative Monitoring, a new specialty board approved by ASHA's Council on Clinical Specialty Recognition, is now accepting applications from ASHA-certified audiologists who demonstrate advanced knowledge, clinical training and expertise in the clinical specialty of IOM. To qualify, audiologists must hold a current Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology, meet defined standards for clinical experience and continuing education in IOM, and pass a 200-item multiple-choice computerized exam addressing clinical practice in IOM.
For more information visit the American Audiology Board of Intraoperative Monitoring website or contact email@example.com.
Academic Accreditation Group Seeks Applicants
The Nominating Committee of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology is seeking applicants for three vacancies on the CAA for four-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2014:
- One academic audiologist.
- One practitioner audiologist.
- One practitioner speech-language pathologist.
Descriptions of the vacancies and procedures, and the link to the online application are available online. All completed applications must be submitted online by June 1, 2013.
For more information contact Dan Halling, Nominating Committee chair, or Tess Kirsch, ASHA associate director of accreditation, at 301‑296-5784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASHA Awards Grants to State Associations
ASHA has awarded reimbursement and personnel grants to 17 ASHA-recognized state associations.
Two states received reimbursement awards totaling $7,000 to support advocacy efforts on issues related to private health plan and Medicaid coverage of audiology and speech-language pathology services:
- The Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists will build a multidisciplinary grassroots advocacy coalition of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Each of the eight members will represent a geographic area. The coalition will lay the groundwork for future advocacy efforts by identifying and prioritizing key reimbursement issues affecting the professions in Florida.
- The Minnesota Speech-Language-Hearing Association will educate stakeholders about the importance of including habilitative and rehabilitative speech, language and hearing services as essential health benefits in the state's health insurance exchange. The grant will fund investigation of current reimbursement levels and development of educational materials that will include stories of patients who have benefited from speech, language and hearing services.
Sixteen associations received $60,000 in personnel grants to address state-level issues such as personnel shortages, caseload/workload and advocacy.
- The California Speech-Language-Hearing Association will update its online community with more information about common disorders and answers to frequently asked questions. The enhanced website will provide easier and greater access to information for members and consumers.
- The Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists will purchase advocacy software that will help the association mobilize its members and address key legislative and regulatory issues affecting speech-language pathology and audiology. Other efforts will include advocacy days, legislative boot camps and coffee chats.
- The Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association will help introduce and advocate for legislation allowing clinical fellows in private practices and outpatient hospitals to provide services through the Medicaid Children's Intervention Services Program. Only clinical fellows in schools and inpatient hospitals may now provide services in that Medicaid program, resulting in a shortage of health care jobs for clinical fellows in Georgia.
- The Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association, as part of its speech-language pathology paraprofessional initiative, will develop online training on the supervision of speech-language pathology assistants.
- The Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association will use a lobbyist, along with member education and support, to address legislation dealing with music therapy certification and legislation that would allow occupational therapists to provide dysphagia evaluation and treatment.
- As part of its effort to implement ASHA's workload model, the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association will assess the impact of caseload/workload models on Kansas speech-language pathologists in schools.
- The Kentucky Speech-Language Hearing Association will advocate for funding for 2012 legislation that authorized salary supplements for ASHA-certified SLPs and audiologists certified by ASHA or the American Board of Audiology.
- The Nevada Speech-Language-Hearing Association will work with a lobbyist and its members on two key issues: maintaining the Board of Examiners for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and continuing salary supplements for school-based SLPs.
- The New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association will redesign its website, with particular emphasis on an enhanced ability to communicate legislative issues and grassroots efforts to members and consumers.
- The New Mexico Speech, Language, and Hearing Association will recruit minority students into university training programs and promote increased faculty involvement in its new Minority Student Leadership Program. NMSHA members and board members will serve as mentors for students in this program.
- The Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association will promote an updated licensure law to legislators and consumers. The revised law calls for four levels of licensure.
- The South Dakota Speech-Language and Hearing Association will use public service announcements, web videos and online testimonials to enhance the visibility and awareness of the professions in an effort to reduce the state's personnel shortage.
- The Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association will address the concerns that speech language pathology assistants are not adequately trained by developing online training modules offered through Education Service Centers. These modules will develop the knowledge, skills and competencies of state-licensed SLPAs working in schools.
- The Vermont Speech-Language-Hearing Association will train its members in advocacy and develop advocacy materials for stakeholders that address medical speech-language pathology services, Medicare caps, inadequate Medicaid clinical review and health care reform.
- Through the efforts of its members, its lobbyist and other state professional groups, the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia will seek support for licensure of SLPAs and other key legislative issues.
- The Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association will help stakeholders understand SLPs' preparation, training, certification and scope of practice; gather data on students enrolled in training programs and postgraduation employment; work with school districts to compile employment data; and develop online resources. Data analysis and interpretation will be presented at school board and town hall-style meetings.
Use Pathways to Launch Your Research Career
ASHA invites early-career clinical scientists in communication sciences and disorders interested in developing strong foundations for their independent research careers to apply for Pathways, ASHA's newest research mentoring program. The application deadline is July 1.
The program, now in its second year, begins with a two-and-a-half- day conference at ASHA's national office. Through lectures, one-on-one mentoring sessions and small-group discussions, participants will learn how to develop a five-year research career plan, acculturate to a research career, build a publication record sufficient to support a competitive federal research grant proposal, and identify funding streams available to early-career researchers.
Following the conference, participants will continue to work remotely with their mentors to complete tasks associated with their one-year goals.
The first Pathways group of 16 early-career researchers was impressed when they convened in February. Stephanie Borrie, a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University, commented, "It was an amazing program. I learned a lot and have come away with clear direction and focus." Emily Zimmerman, a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, noted, "It was so informative and came at a great time in my career."
Pathways, supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders through a grant awarded to ASHA, introduces a new entry-level opportunity into ASHA's Research Mentoring Network. Ongoing programs, such as Lessons for Success and the Clinical Practice Research Institute, continue to provide more advanced opportunities. Participants in all three programs are connected through an online social community and share a clinical research education library of digital resources.
For information about all of ASHA's research and mentoring programs, visit our research website.
Board of Ethics Decisions
The ASHA Board of Ethics has found Marva N. Mount of Mansfield, Texas, a member certified in speech-language pathology, in violation of the association's Code of Ethics (2010):
Principle of Ethic IV: Individuals shall honor their responsibilities to the professions and their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of other professions and disciplines.
Principle IV, Rule A: Individuals shall uphold the dignity and autonomy of the professions, maintain harmonious interprofessional and intraprofessional relationships, and accept the professions' self-imposed standards.
Principle IV, Rule C: Individuals shall not engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
The sanction imposed is suspension of membership and certification for six months, effective March 4, 2013.
See what the ASHA Board voted on recently [PDF].