AOTA and ASHA Win Association Industry's Highest Honor

ASAE’s Power of A Award recognizes innovative associations working to positively impact the world

(Rockville, MD - July 28, 2017)  

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have together earned a 2017 ASAE Power of A Silver Award.

The association community's highest honor recognizes AOTA and ASHA's efforts to advocate with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and federal agencies to make changes to the Affordable Care Act's summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) document. As a result of this advocacy, the revised SBC and related materials help increase consumers' health literacy of rehabilitative and habilitative services.

Typically, AOTA and ASHA advocate directly with the federal government. In this case, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury deferred recommendations to the NAIC—leading AOTA and ASHA to establish relationships within the NAIC. The groups advocated successfully for:

  • The SBC template to maintain separate and distinct rows for rehabilitation services and habilitation services, and that they should not be combined.
  • Health plans to list any limitations to occupational, physical, and speech therapy; and if there is a quantifiable limit, to specify that information.
  • The definition for "medically necessary" in the Uniform Glossary of Medical Terms to specifically mention habilitation.

"This award recognizes the ongoing collaborative commitment of AOTA and ASHA to improve consumer access to quality occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech, language, and hearing services," said Frederick P. Somers, Chief Executive Officer for AOTA. "This work positively impacts the community and the professions by increasing recognition of habilitation that was not routinely covered pre-ACA, elevating awareness of our professions' services, and enabling consumers to better evaluate, compare, and understand the covered services and cost-sharing of health insurance plans to improve their health policy."

"Through AOTA and ASHA's cooperative work on this project, 180 million Americans will have access to clear information about the level and scope of coverage for habilitative and rehabilitative benefits under the different health insurance plans available to them," said Arlene A. Pietranton, PhD, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of ASHA. "This information will allow consumers to select their insurance coverage in an informed way—a big boost to transparency in the often-complex process of choosing a health plan. It also will allow those with existing health insurance to better understand their coverage for habilitative care. It is hard to overstate the importance of this project, given the potentially dramatic effects that coverage for habilitative services can have on the health and lives of people who require them."

ASAE offered the association's congratulations on a job well-done.

"Congratulations to AOTA and ASHA for their efforts to enrich and strengthen lives," said Sharon J. Swan, FASAE, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Chair of the Power of A Awards Judging Committee. "Their initiative exemplifies how we work best when we work together and how associations have a positive influence on our everyday lives in every way."

ASAE's Power of A (association) Awards, the industry's highest honor, recognize the association community's valuable contributions on the local, national, and global levels. The Power of A Awards reward the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals who work tirelessly to strengthen lives, the workforce, our systems and structures, the economy, and the world.

To learn more about the award, visit or follow #PWRA on Twitter.

Founded in 1917, AOTA represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 213,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA's major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, visit

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 191,500 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

To speak with a representative from AOTA, contact Manager of Media & Public Relations Katie Riley at 301-652-6611 x2963 or To speak with a representative from ASHA, contact Public Relations Manager Francine Pierson at 301-296-8715 or


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