ASHA Advocate: December 20, 2022

December 20, 2022

The Top Line

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (H.R. 2617), which will fund the federal government through the current fiscal year, includes key funding and policy provisions for which ASHA advocated to support audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs). It is expected that Congress will pass the bill this week, and President Biden will sign it into law by midnight on Friday. Highlights of the bill include:

  • Extension of telehealth authority under Medicare
  • Significant increases to special education funding
  • Mitigated reimbursement cuts under Medicare Part B
  • Additional support for school-based audiologists and SLPs
  • Support to audiology and SLP students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Added resources for newborn hearing screening
  • Funding for rehabilitation research

Additional details on the bill may be accessed online. ASHA thanks and recognizes audiologists and SLPs across the country whose advocacy and engagement helped contribute to achieving these successes during the 117th Congress.

Congress Sends Newborn Hearing Screening Bill to President’s Desk

The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act (S. 4052) was sent to President Biden to be signed into law. Enactment of the bill is the culmination of more than two years of ASHA advocacy to ensure renewal of authorized federal funding for state-based hearing screening efforts. The bill also requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study, which ASHA initially proposed, assessing access to timely hearing screenings and follow-up services, particularly for medically underserved populations.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Working for You

  • ASHA is supporting legislation, the States Handling Access to Reciprocity for Employment (SHARE) Act (H.R. 9306), that would facilitate the use of FBI criminal history background check information for more efficient administration of interstate compacts, including the forthcoming Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact. The bill is needed to address inconsistent information and interpretation by the FBI about whether interstate licensing statutes comply with federal law, and consequently, whether the Bureau can share that information to facilitate the operation of compacts.
  • ASHA submitted comments to a request for information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) supporting the National Directory of Healthcare Providers and Services (NDH) initiative. Potential benefits could include quicker and easier prior authorizations, increased visibility to a broad base of patients seeking audiology and speech-language pathology services, and reduced administrative time spent updating multiple databases.
  • ASHA's 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) resources for audiologists and speech-language pathologists are now available on the Medicare outpatient payment webpage. The MPFS establishes Medicare Part B policies and payment rates for outpatient audiology and speech-language pathology services.


"Advocacy is at the heart of what we do to activate our mission and to implement smart strategies that facilitate ASHA's vision of making communication a human right, accessible and achievable for all."

—Judy Rich, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, 2022 ASHA President


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