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December 2021 Advocacy Update

Your 60-Second Advocacy Update

December 17, 2021

ASHA Recognizes Congressional Champions

The inaugural ASHA Award for Public Service was presented to Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and David McKinley (R-WV), co-chairs of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. The award recognizes public servants who make a significant contribution to the professions of audiology and/or speech-language pathology.

Senate Releases Text of Medicare Hearing Benefits

ASHA has been working closely with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) to ensure that congressional efforts to add new hearing benefits to Medicare provide beneficiaries more timely and robust access to the full range of services that audiologists are expertly qualified to provide. Read the latest on these efforts following release of legislative text by the Senate Finance Committee. President Biden and Congressional leaders have reiterated a commitment to pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes the hearing provisions, as soon as possible.

Bill Passed to Reduce Medicare Part B Cuts in 2022

President Biden signed into law the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (S. 610), which delivered a partial abatement of Medicare Part B cuts related to three separate statutory provisions designed to control federal spending. Join the fight to address these cuts more fully through the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 (H.R. 6020/S. 3314). Our efforts to secure further mitigation will continue into 2022.

House Approves Newborn Hearing Screening Bill with ASHA-Recommended Provision

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act [PDF] (H.R. 5561), which now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration. This significant legislation would reauthorize federally supported state-based newborn hearing screening programs and require a Government Accountability Office study on ways to improve access to and equity in services, and to facilitate follow-up services among all populations, with a particular focus on underserved racial, ethnic, and rural populations. Read more about this bill and contact your Senators to ask for their support for critical EHDI funding.

What ASHA’s Working On:

Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact Update (ASLP-IC)

The ASLP-IC Commission will meet virtually for their inaugural meeting on January 12-13, 2022. Commission meeting information and documents are available on the ASLP-IC website. Outreach on the ASLP-IC legislation continues in state with ASHA most recently meeting with licensing boards in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Vermont to discuss the ASLP-IC in their state.

Missouri Plans to Introduce Legislation that Will Restore the Clinical Fellowship Requirements for Licensure and Add Legislative Language to Enact the ASLP-IC

ASHA is working with leadership from the Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA) to help restore clinical fellowship requirements for state licensure and finalize legislation to enact the ASLP-IC. The proposed legislative language will also restore the provisional license for clinical fellows (CF). MSHA and their lobbyists have already met with Missouri Medicaid and plan to meet with other stakeholders. Once this legislation passes, Missouri members will be eligible to be part of the ASLP-IC.

South Carolina Updates Proposed Regulations for Assistants and CFs

The South Carolina Licensing Board (LLR) updated its proposed regulations for speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) and CFs. In response to feedback from the South Carolina Speech Language Hearing Association (SCSHA) and ASHA, LLR has revised its proposal for the SLPA scope of practice to include activities within ASHA's SLPA scope of practice. They are also working to make it easier for prospective SLPAs to meet licensure requirements by allowing clinical hours to be completed via a board-approved on-the-job training plan and by accepting ASHA Speech-Language Pathology Assistants Certification (C-SLPA). LLR has proposed clarifying the requirements for licensed SLPs to serve as CF mentors.

FYI:

Prepare for Coding Changes in 2022

Are you ready for diagnosis and procedure coding changes in 2022? Learn about the updates, including new diagnosis codes for abnormal neonatal hearing screening and pediatric feeding disorder, and new procedure codes for remote monitoring, and several deleted procedure codes for low-volume audiology services.

New Resource for Tracking Public and Private Health Plan Policy Updates

ASHA is pleased to offer a new resource for tracking public and private payer policy updates that may impact you and your practice. Updated monthly, find an outline of the latest updates from payers around the country and the newest policies being enacted.

Thank You ASHA-PAC Donors!

ASHA-PAC thanks all the donors who have already given for the 2022 fundraising year. Be on the lookout for information on upcoming ASHA-PAC events. Learn more about ASHA-PAC.

What is ASHA Advocacy? Speaking out personally and professionally for making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.

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Learn more about ASHA’s advocacy priorities in the 2022 Public Policy Agenda.


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