November 1, 2013 Departments

State Spotlight: Oregon Speech-Language & Hearing Association

Website: www.oregonspeechandhearing.org
Facebook: OregonSpeechLanguageHearingAssociation
Established: 1949
Members: 585
Contact: Tracy Oman, executive director, oshadirector@gmail.com; Linda D'Onofrio, 2013 president, linda@donofrioslp.com

How are you making a difference in your members' professional lives?

OSHA board members and our all-important committee members have been very active, giving voice to issues that concern speech-language pathologists and audiologists in our state. A number of important bills have come before our state legislature that required our support or objection, often demanding quick action by our legislative chair and our lobbyist. In this session alone, OSHA members have testified or written letters regarding insurance reimbursement of applied behavioral analysis services, educating coaches about brain injury, and fighting to maintain an independent licensure board. Our annual conference brings together professionals from all over the state to hear national and local stars in our field present on the latest issues.

What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in your state today?

A tricky question! When I posed this to a number of board members, everyone answered differently. Oregon is leading the nation in implementing the new Affordable Care Act. Habilitation and rehabilitation professionals are working hard to make sure they have a place at the table as new health care regulations are implemented. School clinicians dealing with Medicaid expansion feel they don't have the funding and support they need for the difficult jobs they are trying to do. Hospitals, clinics and private practices have been hit hard by changes made by insurance companies in the past few years, and face reductions in reimbursement, reductions in the number of visits, and new benefit exclusions that cover some diagnostic codes but not others. Our university-based colleagues need better supervision for their clinical fellows and more jobs for their graduates.

What is your association's proudest accomplishment?

On July 3, 1973, Gov. Tom McCall signed into law state licensure for speech-language pathologists in Oregon. OSHA members critical to the effort and our lobbyist were invited to the signing.

What is a particularly memorable event in your association's history and how did it come about?

We hope to be making history at our conference in October when we celebrate 40 years of state licensure and acknowledge our more recent efforts to have all Oregon SLPs licensed under one universal license. Under current rules, many of our school-based SLPs possess one of six licenses issued by the schools. We've invited former Gov. Barbara Roberts—OSHA's lobbyist 40 years ago when we first fought for state licensure—to receive OSHA Honors at this year's luncheon. As the mother of a child with autism, Gov. Roberts has been a lifelong advocate for children and families with disabilities as well as for their service providers and educators.

Do you have a particularly successful advocacy or recruitment strategy to share?

OSHA membership has been stagnant for a few years. To recruit members, we are offering one year of free association membership to all graduating students; our three state universities have faculty and student representation on the OSHA board; and our board members present to their NSSLHA groups.

What should every communication sciences and disorders professional in your state know about the association?

We advocate for our patients, clients and students every day. OSHA's mission is to advocate for our members and all the SLPs and audiologists in Oregon, to create educational and networking opportunities, and to support and defend our profession and the populations we serve.

Linda D'Onofrio, MS, CCC-SLP, 2013 OSHA president linda@donofrioslp.com

cite as: D'Onofrio, L. (2013, November 01). State Spotlight: Oregon Speech-Language & Hearing Association. The ASHA Leader.

  

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