Facebook: Colorado Speech-Language and Hearing Association
Contact: Colet Scott-Bisping, president, firstname.lastname@example.org
How are you making a difference in your members' professional lives?
CSHA worked hard to help the state regulate the profession. Regulation helps to protect consumers from harm, but it also protects qualified speech-language pathologists' provider status. It allows a board or department that oversees the regulation of the profession to sanction providers who do not meet minimum qualifications for practice. Through the persistence of CSHA and its members, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies now regulates SLPs through state certification, potentially a large step toward full licensure. The regulatory law, which passed in 2012, makes Colorado the 50th and final state to regulate SLPs. It requires all SLPs who practice outside of the school setting to obtain certification.
What were the challenges to complying with state certification?
Once certification was approved, CSHA shared information on the regulatory process with members at the association's 2012 annual meeting and during the spring conference. The deadline for certification was July 2013. Unfortunately, applications were not made available until the end of May. Because the deadline for certification was set in statute, no extensions could be granted. SLPs were concerned that their applications would not be processed in time to meet the deadline.
How did CSHA address the challenge?
CSHA sent e-mail blasts to members and worked closely with ASHA to send e-mails to all ASHA members in Colorado, notifying them of the upcoming deadline. CSHA posted information on its Facebook page, website and Listserv reminding members of the deadline and availability of the application. ASHA wrote a letter to the Department of Regulatory Agencies and to the governor's office requesting an extension. The CSHA lobbyist contacted state officials, who assured CSHA that all applications would be processed on time. Unfortunately, more than half of the applications submitted on time lacked some necessary information—specifically, the Healthcare Professions Profile—which resulted in processing delays.
Finally, through the efforts of CSHA leadership, members and ASHA, state officials granted a 90-day extension for SLPs to complete their applications. CSHA will continue to collaborate with state officials to offer "coffee talks" around the state to provide a forum for SLPs to ask questions and express concerns about the state certification process.
Where can I find more information?
The CSHA website includes information about state certification, including requirements, creating a Healthcare Professions Profile, checking on the status of an application, and contact information for the Department of Regulatory Agencies.