ASHA Advocate: April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

The Top Line

President Biden has signed into law the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 (H.R. 2882). H.R. 2882 will fund key health and education programs administered by the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services for the remainder of the fiscal year. This will preserve funding for IDEA; maintain funding for the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act; sustain funding for evolving CSD and rehabilitation research; provide $10 million for research on developmental delays, including speech and language delays; and support research on the development of lower-cost and high-sensitivity prenatal diagnosis and newborn screening technologies to detect Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV).

CMS Proposes SNF & IRF Payment Rate and System Updates for Fiscal Year 2025

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to update the payment rates and associated policies for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), which would take effect in fiscal year (FY) 2025. This includes a 4.1% payment increase to SNFs, new social determinants of health (SDOH) related assessment items, and updates to civil monetary penalty policies.

CMS has separately proposed a modest payment increase of 2.8% for inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) in fiscal year 2025. They also proposed adding new assessment items to the IRF Patient Assessment Instrument (PAI) to capture additional data on SDOH. ASHA is working on comments for both proposals and will keep members posted on outcomes.

Key Congressional Committee Considers Permanent Telehealth Bill

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Health held a hearing yesterday to examine ways to ensure patient access to telehealth services. The panel reviewed several bills, including the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R. 3875), which would ensure audiologists and SLPs can permanently continue furnishing services in this manner beyond the end of 2024, when such authority currently expires. ASHA submitted a letter of support for the hearing record and signed on to a joint letter with the Rehabilitation Therapy Coalition in support of the bill.  

Take action now to tell Congress to make audiologists and SLPs permanent Medicare telehealth providers.

Spring Into PACtion!

ASHA-PAC launched the Spring into PACtion fundraising campaign in which ASHA members who donate $20 and up will be entered to win a bouquet of flowers delivered to an address of their choosing and donations of $100 or more will be entered to win a bouquet a month for a year.

Spring into PACtion

Working for You

  • Submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rule to improve the capacity of the National Apprenticeship System to respond to evolving employer needs, provide workers equitable pathways to good jobs, and increase the system's long-term resilience.
  • Advocacy Win! ASHA-backed bill, Maryland HB 464/SB 795, passed out of the MD House and Senate. This legislation will modernize the audiology scope of practice to reflect current standards.
  • Continued work with the Oregon Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Oregon Department of Education to educate practitioners on a salary supplement fund for school-based SLPs and SLPAs who meet specific criteria including working in an education service district, or school district, where they are being trained in the first two years of their licensure.
  • Signed on to a letter to House and Senate committee leaders supporting the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act, which would help ensure that people with disabilities have access to communication and video programming technologies needed to fully access and participate in society.
  • Signed on to a letter to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee asking for the inclusion of $60 million in the Fiscal Year 2025 health and human services funding bill to increase capacity of assistive technology programs.
  • Met with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, to discuss the value that audiology and speech-language pathology bring to patient care and their impact on quality outcomes. Sought clarity on the role of the professions in CMS’ transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment model.
  • Discussed next steps for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact implementation with the Florida licensing board.
  • Attended a meeting of the Nebraska Hearing Care Professional Technical Review Committee regarding proposed policy changes to the hearing aid dispensers’ scope of practice that would infringe on the practice of audiology.
  • Refreshed our State Association Member Benefits page to include a roster of open volunteer positions within state associations.


Members of ASHA’s Health Care and Education Policy team presented on audiology coverage and payment issues in Virginia and beyond at the Virginia Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (SHAV) annual convention. Thanks for having us, SHAV!

HCEP visits SHAV

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