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2022 ASHA Public Policy Agenda

The 2022 Public Policy Agenda (PPA) establishes a number of priorities aimed at ensuring that the value of the professions in school, health care, early intervention, private practice, and higher education settings is adequately reflected in rapidly evolving laws, regulations, and payment policies. The PPA reflects ASHA’s ongoing commitment to patients, clients, and students; evidence-based practice and outcomes; public health; the highest standards of professional ethics; a diverse professional workforce, equitable and inclusive policies and practices, and nondiscrimination on the basis of the full range of diversity, including but not limited to ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and/or veteran status.

ASHA looks forward to working collaboratively with lawmakers, policymakers, decision makers, and allied stakeholders to advance the public policy priorities in the 2022 Public Policy Agenda.

Health Care Priorities

  • Advocate for comprehensive coverage and equitable payment for audiology and speech-language pathology services, including early intervention services.
  • Advocate for expanded and permanent coverage of audiology and speech-language pathology services provided by means of telepractice, including the permanent ability of audiologists and speech-language pathologists to provide services by means of telepractice in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance, pay parity between telepractice and in-person services, and telepractice policies that explicitly incorporate the full scope of practice of the professions.
  • Advocate for the inclusion and successful participation of audiologists and speech language pathologists in value-based care, alternative payment models, and other emerging health care delivery systems.
  • Advocate for maintaining the critical role of certified speech-language pathologists in skilled nursing facilities, especially under Medicare’s Patient Driven Payment Model, as well as productivity standards that support clinical excellence, ethical practice, and high quality service delivery.
  • Advocate for federal funding to support academic and clinical research, and the assessment, treatment, and management of speech, language, cognitive, hearing, balance, voice, and feeding/swallowing disorders.

Schools Priorities

  • Advocate for the establishment of dedicated Technical Assistance Centers in the U.S. Department of Education, complete with content expertise as well as evidence-based tools and resources to support priorities for school-based audiologists and speech-language pathologists—including caseload and workload management, rural capacity building, and school-based telepractice.
  • Advocate for new research and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on topics impacting the ability of audiologists and speech-language pathologists to serve students—including assessment practices and service referrals, compensatory services and student regression, manageable workloads, and family education.
  • Advocate for increased Medicaid funding dedicated to school-based audiology and speech-language pathology services through the development and dissemination of a national model that includes the equitable provision of consultation, assessment, and treatment services.
  • Advocate for audiologists and speechlanguage pathologists to serve as peer reviewers for the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Advocate for federal funding to support the assessment, treatment, and management of speech, language, cognitive, hearing, balance, voice, and feeding/swallowing disorders.

Professional Practice and Workforce Priorities

  • Advocate for implementation and further adoption of the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact.
  • Advocate for licensure and certification standards that support audiologists and speech-language pathologists—and their ability to practice at the top of their license at all times.
  • Advocate against infringement upon the scopes of practice of audiology and speech-language pathology by other professions that do not hold the extensive academic and clinical training as well as continuing education required to assess, treat, and manage speech, language, cognitive, hearing, balance, voice, and feeding/swallowing disorders.
  • Advocate for appropriate and safe working environments, including workspaces that ensure access and high-quality service delivery while upholding privacy standards, ongoing provision of personal protective equipment consistent with current public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and continued delivery of services by means of telepractice.
  • Advocate for regulations that recognize the value of ASHA-certified audiology and speech-language pathology assistants, including appropriate credentials, roles and responsibilities, and supervision standards.

Patient, Client, and Student Priorities

  • Advocate for the safety, appropriate utilization, and proper marketing of devices and technology for hearing, augmentative and alternative communication, habilitation, and rehabilitation.
  • Advocate for the reauthorization of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act.
  • Advocate for the continued ability of patients, clients, students, caregivers, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists to make informed treatment decisions with equitable access to objective and evidence-based resources.
  • Advocate for increased Medicaid funding for early intervention services, the preservation of Medicaid Maintenance of Effort protections, and state compliance with service mandates under Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment benefit.
  • Advocate for international public policy initiatives designed to support individuals with speech, language, cognitive, hearing, balance, voice, and feeding/swallowing disorders.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Priorities

  • Advocate for the reduction of disparities in health care, education, and early intervention settings on the basis of race, ethnicity, culture, language, dialect, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, socioeconomic status, and/or ability.
  • Advocate for (1) a culturally responsive workforce of audiologists and speechlanguage pathologists, including the utilization of appropriate materials and resources, and (2) appropriate training and use of interpreters.
  • Advocate for a diverse population of undergraduate and graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology programs, including continued support for the Allied Healthcare Workforce Diversity Act.
  • Advocate for anti-discriminatory policies and practices that support people with communication disorders, especially those from underrepresented or marginalized communities.

Resources for Getting Involved

Providing dynamic and convenient opportunities for ASHA members to advocate is critical to ASHA’s overall success! As a member of ASHA, your voice is incredibly valuable. The professional perspectives and personal narratives that you bring to a public policy issue have a powerful impact. By working together, we can most effectively educate, inform, and persuade lawmakers, policymakers, and other decision makers to take actions that benefit the professions as well as the patients, clients, and students whom we serve.

You can become informed and involved in a number of ways. Becoming an effective advocate is easy and takes very little time!

Questions? Contact Jeffrey P. Regan, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, at jregan@asha.org.

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