Academy Submits Joint Letter to Encourage Inclusion of Workforce Diversity Provisions in Upcoming Legislative Package

The Academy teamed up with the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Occupational Therapy Association, the American Association for Respiratory Care, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to respond to a request from the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for suggestions on proposals to support and expand workforce training programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congressional Action to Extend Two Percent Medicare Sequester Reduction Suspension

On March 25, 2021, the Senate passed (90-2) legislation that will extend the sequester moratorium through the end of 2021. The expense will be fully offset by extending the sequester into the 2031 budget window. Despite having passed the bill earlier in the month, the House will need to pass it again when it returns in April because of amendments by the Senate.

Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact Enacted

The 10th state—Nebraska—has passed legislation to adopt the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (ASLP-IC), joining Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. With the minimum of 10 states, the compact is now operational.

The compact will now move to implementation, which will include establishing a Commission composed of one audiologist and one speech-language pathologist from each participating state. The Commission will direct implementation of the compact and provide ongoing oversight. 

Encourage Your Federal Representative to Support the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act –H.R. 1587

We need your help to secure additional co-sponsors for this important legislation. Please visit the Academy Legislative Action Center to access a quick and streamlined process to send a customizable message to your elected representative about why this bill is important to you.  

Access to Telehealth Act Re-Introduced and Academy Viewpoint

Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)  re-introduced the Expanded Telehealth Access Act on March 24, 2021. This legislation would expand the list of providers eligible for Medicare reimbursement for providing care via telehealth to include all qualified Medicare providers. The legislation also creates a designation of “provider” specific to telehealth. 

Interstate Licensure Compact (ASLP-IC) Gaining Ground in 2021

Two states recently enacted implementing legislation for the Audiology and Speech Language Pathology Interstate Licensure Compact. 

Alabama SB 130 was signed into law on March 11 and Kentucky SB 47 was signed on March 18. 

This recent action increases the number of states to have enacted this legislation to eight (UT, WY, OK, LA, AL, NC, WV, KY). 

Once 10 states have enacted implementing legislation, the ASLP-IC will become operational and a Compact Commission will be created.  

Academy Opposes Tennessee Legislation to Add Cerumen Management to Hearing Instrument Specialist Scope of Practice

The Academy expressed its opposition to Tennessee legislation (SB 665/ HB 920) that would add cerumen management to the scope of practice for hearing instrument specialists who have completed an International Hearing Society cerumen management course. 

Academy Opposes Florida Legislation to Remove Audiological Evaluation Prior to Issuance of Hearing Aid

The American Academy of Audiology has expressed its opposition to Florida legislation that would remove the current state requirement that individuals receive evaluation and testing by a licensed audiologist and instead allow individuals simply to sign a waiver prior to receiving a hearing aid.

This legislation was introduced and very quickly amended into SB 700—a large telehealth bill. The text of this provision appears as Amendment # 302884 in SB 700. 

Academy Arizona State Action Alert SB1458

Bill SB1458, sponsored by Arizona State Senator Nancy Barto (R), would waive licensure requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A); recognize only American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) accredited educational programs; and add two speech-language pathology (SLP) assistants to the State Advisory Committee. 

The Academy and Other Provider Groups Call Upon Congress to Block Expected 2021 Medicare Cuts

The 2021 Proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule was released earlier this week (August 3) and the Academy has prepared a summary for members to review.  

In this proposed rule, CMS reiterated its plan to move forward with cuts to a wide variety of providers—both physician and non-physician—to counterbalance increases to primary care providers.  

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