American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care



What This Is

The ACA requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care (The National Quality Strategy), which is outlined in a report submitted to Congress in March 2011. The National Quality Strategy aims to

  • eliminate preventable health care acquired conditions;
  • create a more coordinated, less fragmented care delivery system;
  • use patient-reported information, including personal goals and desired outcomes;
  • make quality care more affordable by developing and implementing new health care delivery models.

Ultimately, the Strategy seeks to achieve "measurable improvement in the outcomes of care, and in the overall health of the American people."

What This Means for SLPs and Audiologists

Along with all other health care providers, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists will need to find ways to show how they can increase effectiveness of care through evidence-based practice, waste reduction, and a willingness to adapt to new health care delivery models.

SLPs are encouraged to use ASHA's National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) to record functional progress that can be used to illustrate the value of speech-language pathology services.

See also: Outcome Measures Report for Speech-Language Pathologists [PDF]

Implementation Time Line

The 2011 report referenced above outlines the first-year Strategy. As quality efforts are implemented, the Strategy will monitor progress in achieving core goals and provide annual updates to Congress and the public.

ASHA's Role

ASHA will be involved in the discussion and development of quality measured outcomes and any payment models based on quality data. Additionally, the use of NOMS as a quality measurement tool for speech-language pathology services has been recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and will continue to be verified and modified to meet the needs of providers and national programs.

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