On May 9, ASHA hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill about the importance and value of audiologists, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and patient access to their services. The briefing began with welcoming remarks from ASHA President Shari Robertson and Congressional Hearing Health Caucus Co-Chair Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). The panel, moderated by ASHA’s Chief Staff Office for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmietta McNeilly, included ASHA members Ann W. Kummer, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Sharon A. Sandridge, PhD, CCC-A, and two patient advocates, Regan Brady and Gerald V. Quinnan, MD, who called on Congress to increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and ensure audiologists can provide treatment services to Medicare beneficiaries.
Panelists also discussed the need to fund early hearing detection and intervention services and the key role speech-language pathologists play in treating individuals who have survived a stroke. After the briefing several panelists stayed on the Hill and met with the senior health policy advisors to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).
Congressional Hearing Health Caucus Co-Chair Representative David McKinley (R-WV) kicks off ASHA's congressional briefing by talking about the importance of treating hearing loss and other communication disorders.
Regan Brady, Harvard University student, audiology patient, advocate for the hearing impaired, and author of Listening to Waves, a book about her experience with hearing loss, tells her story about being diagnosed with hearing loss as a child and how early intervention and audiology services positively affected her life.
Gerald V. Quinnan, MD, a stroke survivor, speaks about his experience working with a speech-language pathologist.