ASHA Advocate: October 19, 2023

October 19, 2023

Calling All Students: Participate in Virtual Student Advocacy Day Next Week!

Members of National NSSLHA's executive council just met virtually with their federal lawmakers to build support for the IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 4519/S. 2217) ahead of Virtual Student Advocacy Day on Thursday, October 26. Now is a great time to encourage CSD students to engage in advocacy by Taking Action and telling Congress to support this bill.


Bringing Together Major Payers and Medicaid Programs

ASHA hosted its 5th Annual Payer Summit in Washington, DC, bringing together national payers, utilization management companies, and state Medicaid programs to discuss audiology and speech-language pathology coverage, coding, and policy issues. The Summit focused on identifying challenges for ASHA members and payers alike and workshopped strategies to address key issues impacting audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Topics included member pain points―such as payment reductions, coding and billing, responding to denials and audits, lack of coverage for services, and Medicaid billing in schools―as well as ways clinicians can more successfully engage with payers, and how ASHA and payers can continue to strengthen our working relationships and proactively address issues together.

Senate Bill Adds Audiologists and SLPs as Permanent Medicare Telehealth Providers

Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Tina Smith (D-MN) have introduced the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (S. 2880), which would add audiologists and SLPs as permanent Medicare telehealth providers. ASHA President Bob Augustine was quoted in their press release on the bill, commenting that the bill will “ensure that America’s seniors maintain robust access to needed audiology and speech-language pathology care for hearing, balance, speech and language, swallowing, and cognitive-communication disorders through telehealth services.”

Working for You

  • In a meeting with the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), ASHA discussed Medicaid billing in schools and challenges our members face regarding alleged duplication of services when children receive audiology or speech services in schools and outpatient settings.
  • Comments [PDF] were submitted to the House Committee on Ways and Means on ways to improve health care in rural and underserved areas. Our comments highlighted improving Medicare Part B payments, expanding Medicare coverage of audiology services, and adding audiologists and SLPs as permanent Medicare telehealth providers.
  • ASHA joined other organizations to send a letter [PDF] to congressional leaders opposing enhanced payments for certain primary care related services that would necessitate further Medicare Part B payment cuts for audiology and speech-language pathology services.
  • ASHA submitted comments [PDF] to the House Committee on the Budget, along with AAA and ADA, in response to a request for information on how to improve health care and lower costs. The comments urged passage of the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act (S. 2377), highlighting savings 1) from removing the physician order requirement for beneficiaries to access audiologist provided services and 2) to consumers by removing unnecessary out-of-pocket costs for copays.
  • ASHA attended the National Council of State Boards of Examiners annual conference in Charlotte, NC, where staff provided updates to state licensing board members from across the country as well as legislative updates on the Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (ASLP-IC).
  • ASHA attended the first annual business meeting for the ASLP-IC Commission and presented a legislative update on the Compact to the Commission Delegates.
  • SIG 13 (Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders) met with Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Summer Lee (D-PA) to urge support for stopping Medicare Part B payment cuts, cutting red tape to ensure the efficient operation of interstate compacts, and expanding the allowable uses of 529 education savings accounts to include licensure and certification expenses. Take Action on these bills now!


Thanks to members of ASHA’s Health Care Economics Committee for advocating to increase Medicare beneficiary access to services provided by audiologists.


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