Vice-President for Legislative Affairs
Leo Dunham MS, CCC-SLP
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
Changes to the Speech-Laguage Pathology Act
Proposed changes to the speech-language pathology act concerning speech-language pathology assistants are currently published in the Missouri Register for comment.
Please note the following link to locate the proposed changes: www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/moreg/current/v37n3/v37n3b.pdf . The proposed changes are published on pages 178 through 180. Comments may be directed to the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts per the instructions at the end of each of the three proposed amendments to the act.
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.
Since many members may be unfamiliar with the process of commenting on proposed rule changes, please note the following:
Anyone may file a statement in support of or in opposition to [the] proposed amendment[s] with the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, PO Box 4, Jefferson City, MO 65102, by facsimile at (573) 751-3166, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be considered, comments must be received within thirty (30) days after publication of this notice in the Missouri Register. No public hearing is scheduled.
Make sure you list the amendments for which you are submitting your comments, for example: 20 CSR 2150-4.203
Text to the rule that the Board is proposing to delete is indicated within [brackets], and text the Board is adding to the rule is shown in Bold typeface.
HB1134 - To Limit Copayment ....
The Missouri House of Representatives is considering a bill (HB1134, see http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB1134&year=2012&code=R ) that will limit copayment for physical, occupational and speech therapies to an amount not to exceed that for an office visit to the referring physician or osteopath. In practice this means the copayment will not be the higher amount required by many insurance policies as services provided by a "specialist".
This legislation has been passed in other states, limited to physical therapy copayments (notably Kentucky in 2011), but there is no readily available information as to any effects it has had on reimbursement or any increase in caseloads from the law's intent to make therapy services more accessible to consumers by limiting copayments. The insurance industry in Missouri opposes this bill, as it limits its ability to shift costs to the consumer via higher copays. The bill as submitted offers no provision to protect the consumer or the therapist from some other cost-shifting mechanism, whether by higher deductibles, limits on treatments, etc.
This bill has been through committee hearings and is ready to be considered by the full house.
The MSHA executive board is asking you, the membership of our association, to ask questions and offer your opinions about the bill via the list-serve or the Facebook page, and certainly to bring your questions and opinions to the convention this week, for the "Ask MSHA" session Thursday evening.