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Session Descriptions

Empowered SLPs in Health Care: Breaking Barriers and Shaping Solutions

June 2–14, 2021 | Online Conference 

These pre-recorded lectures are on-demand and last about an hour, so you can listen to them whenever time permits!

The sessions in this conference fall under five major themes: the business of health care; reimbursement and advocacy; adapting your practice to future trends; disparities in health care access; and career challenges and growth.

Reconciling Patient-Driven Care Within the Business of Health Care
Carmen Vega-Barachowitz, MS, CCC-SLP 

The business aspects of health care delivery and resultant SLP experiences, such as increased productivity requirements and disparities in patient access, may feel unfair. The paradoxical experience of providing patient-centered care and maximizing patient outcomes while wrestling with workload demands and economic pressures can affect SLPs’ independent clinical judgement, contributions to patient care, and value added. In this opening session, the presenter will share ways to design your own professional pathway to confront the challenges and feel empowered to influence change. The session will also orient you to the full conference contents and equip you with learning strategies and a framework for maximizing your conference experience. 

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • create a professional vision with guiding principles that will positively guide your decision-making and clinical practice
  • explain how your daily work translates into the financial health of the institution you work for
  • list three ways to advocate and demonstrate the value you bring to patient care

The Interrelationship Between Policy and Clinical Practice 
Jeffrey P. Regan, MA 

This session will explore how policy and clinical practice impact each other. The presenter will discuss the making of public policy, and how it is interpreted and implemented into clinical practice in health care settings. The presenter will also discuss the flip side—how clinical practice itself informs advocacy for shaping future public policy. Participants will be able to think about their professional roles in interpreting policy and advocating for change.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • interpret public policy regulations for the purpose of clinical practice
  • advocate for future public policy changes

The Political and Public Policy Landscape and the Future of Medical Speech-Language Pathology
Jeffrey P. Regan, MA 

This session will provide an overview of the 2021 political and public policy landscape, including issues of importance before the presidential administration, Congress, and the states. The presenter will discuss the impact these issues have on the future of the medical SLP and highlight the advocacy efforts ASHA is currently undertaking, empowering participants to advocate for positive change. 

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • construct personal and professional narratives for the purposes of advocating
  • advocate for public policy change at the federal and state level

Navigating Medicare in the Era of COVID-19
Sarah Warren, MA, and Jerry White, BA

This session will describe the two issues dominating Medicare coverage discussions in 2021—payment reductions to pay for E/M (evaluation and management) increases and the use of telehealth during and after the public health emergency. Navigating the challenges of these two policy issues is critical to ensuring the viability of SLPs in a variety of health care settings. The presenters will discuss the current status of payment reductions and telehealth use, ASHA’s advocacy strategy, and how to operationalize strategies to effectively maintain Medicare beneficiaries’ access to speech-language pathology services.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • summarize the major policy challenges facing SLPs who treat Medicare beneficiaries
  • advocate to policymakers and members of Congress on behalf of yourself and your patients

Medicaid Federal Update: Policy Meets Practice 
Tim Nanof, MSW, and Jerry White, BA

This session will explore the basics of the Medicaid program, highlight federal and state roles, and outline expected changes and updates over the next couple of years. Presenters will provide up-to-date information about “hot topics”—including telepractice, new requirements, and state-specific information—for clinicians who serve Medicaid beneficiaries in health care settings.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify the roles and responsibilities of federal and state governments in the Medicaid program
  • define EPSDT and use it as a mechanism to advocate for coverage and reimbursement
  • identify and engage with ASHA resources, committees, and networks focused on Medicaid analysis, advocacy, and support

Latest Updates: Health Care SLP Coding and Payment for 2021 and Beyond 
Neela Swanson, BA

This session will provide the latest updates on procedure and diagnosis coding for health care SLP services and how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence payment policy. The speaker will discuss the current state of telepractice coverage as well as best practice for coding virtual assessments and COVID-19-related cases. 

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • discuss key SLP coding and payment policy updates for 2021
  • describe appropriate use of CPT codes for communication technology-based services and PPE 
  • use the correct ICD-10 codes to report COVID-19-related cases on claims 

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, To Whom Should I Listen and Where Should I Go? Developing Critical Thinking Skills 
Ed M. Bice, MEd, CCC-SLP 

The amount of information available to clinicians is enormous. Type a few terms into Google, and thousands of options appear; post a question on social media, and a plethora of responses emerge. Obtaining information is not an issue, but how do you wade through when there is no consensus? Using examples SLPs encounter in their work in health care settings, this session will explore tools for evaluating and analyzing information and developing critical thinking skills. 

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify barriers to new learning
  • outline ways to critically analyze information
  • apply critical thinking to clinical tasks 

Technology Access and Telepractice: Who Gets Left Behind?
Kristen Weidner, MS, CCC-SLP, and Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-SLP 

This session will describe health disparities relevant to telehealth access in older adults and individuals who live in rural areas. Presenters will highlight resources to help overcome telehealth access barriers with these populations and discuss the clinician’s role in advocacy.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify at least two current or foreseeable areas in which older adults and individuals who live in rural areas face barriers in accessing telepractice
  • identify at least two resources/strategies for alleviating telepractice access barriers at the individual (client) level
  • discuss at least one way to advocate at the state or federal level for increased access to telepractice

Ensuring Language Access in Health Care Settings
Joshuaa D. Allison-Burbank, PhD, CPH, CCC-SLP

An increasingly diverse United States means that clinicians are encountering more languages in hospital settings. SLPs and audiologists have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure language access – that is, to active bridge communication challenges between clinicians and patients/families who do not speak, understand, read, or write in the same language. This session will discuss language access law and solutions for situations in which a trained medical interpreter is unavailable.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define language access and describe how language barriers impact clinical practice
  • explain legal and ethical responsibilities when using medical interpreters
  • identify short-term solutions for situations when a medical interpreter is unavailable and describe how to implement a language access plan

Moral Distress and the SLP’s Game: Put Burnout on the Run 
Josephine Sevier Alston, MA, CCC-SLP 

Many SLPs in health care settings feel as though they are slowly losing “the game” and experiencing career burnout. This session will explore moral distress and how it can impact the SLP’s long game. The speaker will address difficult situations that SLPs confront daily in their health care careers and share useful tools to get to the root of your moral distress. The session will help you develop a new game plan with strategies to come out with a win.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • list five common examples of moral distress in the health care work environment that can lead to career burnout
  • utilize the "5 Whys" to identify the driving force of common problems in your workplace
  • develop three SMART goals for taking action and implementing change to make immediate improvements in your work environment

Uncovering Your Superpowers
Alexis Redmond, JD, MA, CAE

At some stages in your career, you may ask yourself, “Do I want to be doing this?” This question can start you down a path of personal discovery to find fulfillment in your career. In this session, learn how to identify and communicate your unique transferable skills and talents—i.e., superpowers—to find new opportunities, expand your influence at work, and/or grow your professional brand. 

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • use new exercises, assessments, and strategies to evaluate your skills, talents, and goals to identify your superpowers
  • communicate your superpowers as part of your professional brand
  • identify opportunities to use your superpowers to fulfill your career goals

Additional sessions will be added on the following topics: rehabilitation services in health care; the costs of staying in business; telepractice in the future; ethics in social media engagement; and challenging racial biases in service delivery. Check back for full session descriptions.


"I learned a lot of new information that I can incorporate into my practice. I really valued all the research-based information."
Past ASHA Professional Development online conference participant
"I loved how there were different perspectives on the same subject. I liked the tips and practical treatment strategies that were provided."
Past ASHA Professional Development online conference participant

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