ASHA Advocate: March 22, 2024

March 22, 2024

The Top Line

ASHA’s President, Tena McNamara, spent a day on Capitol Hill this week with her counterparts at the American Academy of Audiology and the Academy of Doctors of Audiologymeeting with key lawmakers to build support for the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act (H.R. 6445/S. 2377). The leaders of the three groups highlighted that by ensuring seniors have more timely and robust access to hearing and balance assessment and treatment services provided by audiologists, it will lower the risk of falls, slow cognitive decline, and reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Take action now by adding your voice to theirs and telling Congress to pass this critical legislation.

Tena AAA ADA on the Hill

ASHA-Backed Bill Would Improve CMV Screening and Treatment

Legislation introduced in the House and Senate, the Stop CMV Act (H.R. 7542/S. 3864), would provide federal funding for state-based cytomegalovirus (CMV) screening programs that improve early detection and intervention. ASHA President Tena McNamara was quoted in the sponsors’ press release, noting that the bill “will focus needed attention and resources on screening for congenital cytomegalovirus in newborns, a huge step forward in identifying children at risk for hearing loss, communication disorders and developmental delays.”

Support This Bill

Clarifying the BCBS Federal Employee Program (FEP) Hearing Aid Policy

Audiologists across the country have been experiencing denials and confusing appeal processes when trying to obtain approval for medically necessary air conduction hearing aids for federal employees through Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS). ASHA sent letters encouraging reconsideration of medical necessity parameters and continues to work with BCBS and the Office of Personnel Management to ensure these guidelines and processes do not create barriers to care for FEP beneficiaries. We have also provided an appeal letter template and compiled helpful information for audiologists encountering this issue now.

Florida Joins Interstate Compact

Advocacy Win! Thanks to ASHA’s staff and member advocacy efforts, the Governor of Florida signed legislation making Florida the 31st state to join the Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact. We anticipate that applications for compact privileges will open in late 2024 – early 2025.

Working for You

  • Advocacy Win! Advocacy by ASHA and other groups has led to a reduction in Medicare Part B cuts from 3.4% to 1.7% for the remainder of 2024. Learn more and take action now to stop future cuts.
  • Advocacy Win! Kentucky passed ASHA-supported legislation requiring insurance plans to cover habilitative and rehabilitative speech therapy as a treatment for stuttering.
  • Sent a letter [PDF] to House Education and the Workforce Committee leaders outlining ASHA’s position on the College Cost Reduction Act (H.R. 6651), which reauthorizes certain higher education programs.
  • ASHA-PAC held the first of a four-part webinar series  that featured Kirk Bado, editor of the Hotline, who discussed the 2024 presidential and congressional elections.
  • Supported Oklahoma H.B. 1037, which would provide a $5,000 salary bonus for ASHA certified audiologists and SLPs in public schools.
  • Submitted a letter of support for Rhode Island S.B. 2173, which would adopt the Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact.
  • Rallied nearly 200 ASHA members who contacted Georgia’s state senators asking for a much-needed rate increase for audiologists, SLPs, and other therapy providers working with children, especially in early intervention settings.
  • Met with SLP members of the Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association to identify and address challenges with Highmark in PA, including utilization management methods that pose an administrative burden and impede access to care.


ASHA Advocacy staff participated in a panel discussion at ADVION’s Legislative & Regulatory Conference to discuss issues important to audiologists and SLPs who work in long-term care settings. ASHA’s Director of Health Care Policy for Medicare, Sarah Warren, and ASHA’s Director of Federal Affairs for Health Care, Josh Krantz, emphasized the need for better Medicare payment rates and the importance of ensuring audiologists and SLPs can permanently provide services through telepractice to seniors.

Sarah and Josh at ADVION

ASHA Corporate Partners