Vice-President for Legislative Affairs
Kimberly Stewart, MS
Welcome to the Legislative Affairs web page. This page will provide MSHA members with information regarding legislative and regulatory issues, which will affect our practices of speech-language pathology and audiology. Both area of governance influence our clients and their families and our practices, the legislative process more generally and the regulatory process more specifically.
This web page will include information regarding current and upcoming federal and state activities, links that will give members access to state and federal legislative bodies, regulatory agencies, and other groups and associations that advocate for the same clients we work with.
The emphasis on regulatory affairs is necessary because our state and federal governments provide for regulatory agencies to oversee many aspects of those areas that the legislature creates policies for. Legislatures pass laws that are fairly broad. Regulatory agencies issue specific rules that implement legislative decisions in ways that specifically affect services we offer to our clients and the ways in which we provide those services. Our efforts to advocate must be directed to both legislation and regulation.
Advocacy is essential to our practices. Simply being aware of issues affecting our clients and us is not enough. We must actively engage ourselves in supporting the interests of those we serve in our professions by voicing our questions and concerns to those directly involved in making the decisions that affect us.
Both state and federal legislatures are currently preparing for special sessions, including veto sessions. Regular sessions will begin shortly after the new year begins. This page will include issues of interest as those issues arise.
Current Legislative Actions – Bills (speech-language pathology and audiology)
Legislative Action Alert---
Help Remove Mandatory Medicare Rental Requirements for Speech-Generating Devices
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) has introduced the Steve Gleason Act of 2015, H.R. 628. This legislation would allow Medicare beneficiaries to immediately purchase and transfer ownership of speech-generating devices (SGDs) to the patient, thereby removing them from the Medicare capped-rental requirement. The Senate is expected to introduce companion legislation in the near future. Ask your members of Congress to support H.R. 628 today!
For more information on SGD issues, please contact Lisa Satterfield, ASHA's director of health care regulatory advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ingrida Lusis, ASHA's director of federal and political advocacy, at email@example.com.
Updates on ASHA's Coding, Reimbursement, and Advocacy Modules
If you need to be updated on reimbursement for your services or advocating for your profession, please check out these eight modules that provide an overview of important reimbursement and advocacy concepts that all audiologists and speech-language pathologists should be aware of. Please visit www.asha.org for details.
Billing Adjustments by CMS
In late 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued notices to audiologists and speech-language pathologists in private practice, group practice or university clinics who billed Medicare for outpatient services (Part B) in 2013, but did not report a PQRS quality code with a payable claim. If audiologists and speech-language pathologists believe the -1.5% payment adjustment has erroneously been applied, there is recourse available through February 28, 2015.
Our Veterans Need Audiologists!
In late 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued notices to audiologists and speech-language pathologists in private practice, group practice or university clinics who billed Medicare for outpatient services (Part B) in 2013, but did not report a PQRS quality code with a payable claim. If audiologists and speech-language pathologists believe the -1.5% payment adjustment has erroneously been applied, there is recourse available through February 28, 2015. Tell your representative not to cosponsor this legislation.
Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act
The Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit was introduced in the Senate last week. This legislation provides a non-refundable $500 tax credit for the purchase of a hearing aid, or $1,000 if two are needed, once every five years. The legislation is not intended to cover the full cost of hearing aids, but to provide some measure of financial assistance to those who are in need. Please ask your members of Congress to cosponsor this important legislation.
To find out more details on these and other legislative bills, log into www.house.mo.gov or www.senate.mo.gov Click on bill search and add the bill name. However, quick links to bill summaries are provided below.
Missouri State Bills
Senate Bill 146 and House Bill 288 – These bills modify provisions of laws relating to licensing and certification for audiologists and speech-language pathologists, with speech-language pathology assistants and audiology aides, which eliminates expansion of scope of practice for hearing aid dispensers.
These amendments will allow fewer restrictions for speech-language pathology assistant practice in all employment settings, especially the schools, and will allow pre-service training programs at the universities to adjust their undergraduate programs to articulate with the credentialing requirement changes of SLP-A. This change will assist in the marketing of the credential as a career option.
Both Senate and House Bills have been pre-filed and read a second time. SB146 second reading 1/22/2015 and HB288 second reading 1/8/2015. The next step is for the Bills to go to the Committee of Jurisdiction. The bill sponsor will ask the committee chair for a hearing to be scheduled.
Senate Bill 146 – Sponsor: Senator David Pearce
House Bill 288 – Sponsor: Representative Dean Dohrman
Bill Summary: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills151/sumpdf/HB0288I.pdf
If you are interested in working on legislative and regulatory issues, including advocacy efforts to benefit our profession and those we work with, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Establishing a statewide network for advocacy is a priority. Please let me know what issues interest you.
The following links provide resources and information regarding issues of interest, including information that allows each of us to advocate for our clients and our profession. Other web pages on this site include helpful links to agencies and organizations.
www.moga.mo.gov/ This site will direct members to both the House and Senate home pages, which provide information about legislative session schedules, house and senate members, committee meetings, and status of bills being considered during the session.
United States Congress
www.house.gov This site provides access to information about issues considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.
www.senate.gov This site offers information about issues being considered by the U.S. Senate.
www.asha.org/advocacy/ This web page provides information about state and federal legislative issues, including advocacy resources.
www.cms.gov This site provides information from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
www.ahcanal.org/ This website is for the American Healthcare Association, which represents the long-term care industry. It provides legislative and regulatory updates and advocacy resources.
Page last updated
February 9, 2015