ASHA Launches New, Improved NOMS to Aid Functional Outcomes Reporting
As of July 1, providers are required to report outcomes data on all Medicare Part B beneficiaries receiving speech-language services. To help speech-language pathologists navigate Medicare's mandate for functional outcomes reporting, in July ASHA will launch a new and improved National Outcomes Measurement System data collection and reporting tool.
The new Web-based system makes it much easier to report outcomes using Medicare "G-codes" and severity modifiers on claims forms. Enhancements to the NOMS tool include:
- G-code converter. The new NOMS tool automatically generates appropriate G-codes and severity modifiers, based on the Functional Communication Measure score the SLP enters into the NOMS system.
- Goal-setting feature. SLPs will have access to real-time national benchmarking data from patients with similar characteristics—for example, severity level and treatment setting. This new feature provides SLPs with valuable information about expected outcomes and patient progress to assist with goal setting.
- Flexible data reporting. An optional interim reporting form will allow NOMS participants to collect data at Medicare-specified intervals, and not just on admission and discharge.
The new site also streamlines the collection of NOMS data elements and improves the website's performance. Additional user-friendly enhancements to NOMS include:
- Clinician dashboard. By logging into the dashboard, clinicians can add a new patient record easily, or search for existing records.
- Easy access. Users can print and store completed patient forms for internal documentation.
- Simplified data collection. The system has simpler forms to report patient functional status, demographics and intervention characteristics such as treatment setting, funding, speech-language diagnosis and frequency/intensity of speech-language services.
- Removal of protected health information. All NOMS data elements will be de-identified in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule. Health care facilities or systems will no longer be required to enter into HIPAA business associates agreements with ASHA prior to data submission.
- Streamlined data reports. NOMS participants will have immediate access to streamlined data reports benchmarking their facility's outcomes to national and system data, if applicable. These reports showcase the value of speech-language pathology services and can assist with establishing preferred practice patterns, quality improvement planning and reimbursement negotiations. ASHA uses the national data to advocate to Medicare and other third-party payers about payment for speech-language services.
- Built-in help features. Users can access definitions and instructions for data submission quickly.
- Mobile-ready. The site includes capabilities for tablet devices.
- NOMS integration. ASHA will enter into additional collaborative agreements with NOMS participants to build/embed the data-collection tool into a health care organization's electronic medical records. This time-saving feature eliminates duplicated efforts and allows data to be exported from the electronic system and imported into ASHA's national registry.
To register your organization for data collection, find out more about the benefits of NOMS, or find answers to frequently asked questions about how NOMS is tied to Medicare's claims-based outcomes reporting requirement or other Medicare mandates, visit our NOMS page or contact Tobi Frymark, associate director of ASHA's National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Early-Career Professionals Kick Off Leadership Development Project
In May, 30 speech-language pathologists and audiologists with professional experience of 10 or fewer years launched an effort to build their leadership, teaming and networking skills. As part of ASHA's Leadership Development Program, they first met at the national office and, over the next year, will participate in six webinars. These will cover such leadership topics as building high-performing teams, motivating and influencing others, coaching and mentoring, managing conflict, and planning strategically.
Before the workshop, participants completed an assessment of their leadership dimensions of authenticity, coaching, insight and innovation. During the workshop, they took a self-assessment to test their "emotional intelligence"—the ability to identify, assess and control one's emotions and those of others.
The program also included an overview of how to plan a leadership project, which each participant is required to develop. They learned, for example, how to create a project charter, break it out into planning phases, identify stakeholders, develop a vision and manage the project overall.
Throughout the focus on leadership projects, participants jotted down thoughts about their projects in reflection journals. They began by spending a few minutes reflecting on their projects' goals, and closed by focusing on where they see their projects in one year, applying what they learned in the workshop.
A second 2013 Leadership Development Program cohort—for school-based professionals—will kick off later this month at the ASHA Schools Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
2014 Election Results
The Committee on Nominations and Elections has announced the election of the following members to the ASHA Board of Directors. Their three-year terms begin Jan. 1, 2014.
Judith L. Page
Vice President for Academic Affairs in Audiology
Barbara Katherine Cone
Vice President for Planning
Edie R. Hapner
Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology
Lissa A. Power-deFur
Profiles of these new Board members, and a list of the advisory council election results, will appear in the August issue.
ASHA Publishes Issue Brief for School-Based Clinicians
Speech-language pathologists looking for help implementing regulations on the use of a student's or parent's public benefits or insurance (Medicaid, for example) can turn to ASHA's new issue brief.
The regulations [PDF] govern the use of public benefits to provide or pay for services required under Part B of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
The regulations clarify that:
- A public agency must obtain parental consent prior to accessing a child's or parent's public benefits or insurance for the first time.
- The agency must provide written notification to the child's parents before accessing a child's or parent's public benefits or insurance for the first time and annually thereafter.
This issue brief highlights the points most relevant for school-based clinicians. ASHA will continue to develop additional technical assistance materials, including FAQs, that will help members implement the regulations.
Access Audiology Explores Ototoxins in Pediatric Oncology
The July issue of ASHA Access Audiology focuses on monitoring ototoxicity in pediatric oncology patients. Because research indicates an increase in the overall incident rate and five-year survival rate for childhood cancer in the United States, implementing audiological evaluation guidelines and ototoxicity monitoring protocols is more important than ever for the early identification and management of hearing loss in children diagnosed with cancer.
ASHA Access Audiology is a bimonthly, clinical e-newsletter. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail with the word "subscribe" in the subject line to email@example.com.
Did You Know?
- You can find a wide range of information for the public on ASHA's website. The public page has resources to help your students, patients and clients understand communication and communication disorders.
- Understanding health insurance plans can be confusing to most consumers, so ASHA has put together information specifically for them. The information helps people understand their health plans and provides tools to use to obtain the coverage they need to receive speech-language and hearing services.
- CSD professionals looking for resources can go to our research page for information about awards, grants and funding.
- To connect with colleagues, check out the ASHA Community. You can join in the many online conversations or send a private message to any ASHA member listed in the database.
Send Your Nominations for Committees and Boards
ASHA's Committee on Nominations and Elections is seeking nominations for elected positions on four committees and boards. Members may nominate themselves or colleagues for positions on:
- Committee on Honors (one audiologist and one speech-language pathologist for three-year terms).
- Committee on Nominations and Elections (two audiologists and one SLP for two-year terms).
- Financial Planning Board (one audiologist and one SLP for three-year terms).
- Government Relations and Public Policy Board (one audiologist for a three-year term).
Terms begin Jan. 1, 2014. Detailed information—including responsibilities, eligibility requirements, annual obligations and the online nomination form—is available at our nominations and elections page. The deadline for nominations is July 31 at 3 p.m.
Certification Verification Now Available Online
Certification information for every ASHA member is available online.
Any user—members and others—can find out instantly if an ASHA member is certified by entering the person's ASHA identification number or the person's first name, last name, city and state. The user can also download and print an official ASHA verification letter. There is no charge for this service.
Although ASHA's certification staff is able to provide letters verifying current certification to employers, state licensure or regulatory agencies, and individual certificate holders by mail, the online system now provides immediate, 24-hour access to certification verification. Those who wish to have verification letters sent by mail should allow three to five business days for a letter to be sent, or at least 48 hours for a fax.
In addition to accessing the online system, members can request a verification letter in two other ways:
- E-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Call the ASHA Action Center at 800-498-2071. Be sure to have your ASHA account number ready, as well as the address or fax to which the letter should be sent.
See what the ASHA Board of Directors recently voted on [PDF].