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ASHA Advocate: July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022


The Top Line

The federal public health emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 has been extended through October 13, 2022. Given rising infection rates across the country, the PHE and the policies connected to it are not expected to expire anytime soon. ASHA applauds the House of Representatives for passing important legislation this week that would extend Medicare telehealth authority for audiologists and SLPs through 2024. Congress will be in session for another two weeks before adjourning for August recess and entering the height of campaign season. Several large legislative packages are still envisioned for the end of the calendar year.

coronavirus

Push to Establish Communication Focused Technical Assistance Center Intensifies

ASHA strongly supports the creation of a technical assistance (TA) center focused on communication and speech disorders within the U.S. Department of Education. Staffed by school-based audiologists and SLPs, this TA center would develop and disseminate necessary resources and guidance to better help school-based audiologists and SLPs support students with communication challenges. A key House committee has advanced legislation encouraging the Department to provide this assistance. ASHA reached out to the top Senate subcommittee leaders (Sens. Patty Murray and Roy Blunt [PDF]) asking for enhancements to the House language. Audiologists and SLPs are needed to advocate on this issue by contacting your federal elected officials and asking for their support!

Take Action

New Law Includes ASHA Medicaid Priorities

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act [PDF] was signed into law in an effort to reduce gun violence. While providing resources to enhance school safety nationwide, the law also includes several Medicaid related policies that focus on streamlining access to services provided by audiologists and SLPs and facilitating reimbursement for those services, particularly when delivered in schools through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Figure Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Williams E. & Musumeci, M. (2022), The Intersection of Medicaid, Special Education Service Delivery, and the COVID-19 Pandemic. https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/the-intersection-of-medicaid-special-education-service-delivery-and-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Working for You

  • ASHA participated in the Committee for Education Funding’s Hill Day to advocate for higher funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Take action now to ask your elected officials to support efforts to increase IDEA funding and make investments in school-based health care professionals
  • ASHA submitted clarifying comments on specific swallowing and balance-related issues for the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides. The AMA Guides are the standard methodology for permanent impairment assessment often used in such instances as workers’ compensation, personal injury cases, and federal systems.
  • ASHA’s Medicaid Committee and School Finance Committee recently participated in virtual advocacy supporting several public policy priorities, including renewing newborn hearing screening programs, increasing funding for IDEA, and establishing technical assistance centers at ED.

Spotlight!

Thank you, David, for your commitment to advocacy!

"I’m passionate about advocating with ASHA because it’s working with different voices of others toward a united cause."

—Dr. David Alexander, CCC-A, ASHA-PAC Board Chair and Government Affairs and Public Policy Board member.

David-Alexander

ASHA Corporate Partners