September 21, 2021
With Congress expected to consider legislation to enact portions of President Biden’s domestic policy agenda, ASHA is collaborating with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) to improve Medicare’s coverage of audiology services. You can help support these efforts by taking action NOW and urging your members of Congress to support the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R. 1587/S. 1731), which would expand access to services provided by audiologists under Medicare.
A legislative summit was held on August 24 and 26 for states interested in introducing legislation for the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (ASLP-IC) in 2022. Attendees heard from ASHA and the Council of State Government as well as legislators in states where the ASLP-IC passed in 2021. The first meeting of the ASLP-IC Commission will be held later this fall. Fifteen states have now passed the ASLP-IC with the latest in New Hampshire where Governor Chris Sununu signed ASLP-IC legislation into law.
The Senate has passed a bill that includes a provision to extend certain Medicare Part B cuts and rescind approved education funds to help pay for legislation that funds improvements to America’s aging infrastructure. While ASHA supports the principle of investing in our nation’s infrastructure, ASHA does not support that investment coming at the expense of audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) being able to provide essential services. ASHA will continue advocating to ensure proper reimbursement for audiology and speech-language pathology services provided to Medicare beneficiaries as federal lawmakers consider relevant legislation.
Wyoming and North Carolina have agreed to accept ASHA’s speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) certification, the C-SLPA, as an optional pathway for licensure. ASHA will continue to promote the certificate in other states that license SLPAs.
The U.S. Department of Education has released its “Return to School Roadmap,” a resource to support students, schools, educators, and communities as they prepare to return to safe, healthy, and in-person learning this fall. The Roadmap includes a guide for schools and districts outlining what schools can do to protect the health and safety of students, including increasing access to vaccinations and steps for implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated K-12 school guidance. It also includes a checklist that parents can use to prepare themselves and their children for a safe return to in-person learning this fall, including vaccinating eligible children and indoor masking for K-12 students.
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that over 323,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability (TPD) will receive more than 5.8 billion in automatic student loan discharges. The change will apply to borrowers who are identified through an existing data match with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The fourth and final session of the 2021 State Affairs Forum was held on Saturday, August 14. Focusing on schools, attendees from different state associations learned about ASHA’s educational priorities and advocacy efforts including goals for reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In addition, participants heard from fellow ASHA members and staff about issues with Medicaid documentation, access, and reimbursement.
Attending convention? The ASHA-PAC reception currently scheduled for Wednesday, November 17 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Visit our website to learn more.
Thank you to the 249 ASHA Advocates who sent 785 messages to your members of Congress during the month of August! Your advocacy helps amplify our voice on issues impacting the professions and those we serve.
What is ASHA Advocacy? Speaking out personally and professionally for making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.
Learn more about ASHA’s advocacy priorities in the 2021 Public Policy Agenda.