CSHA Licensure Committee: Progress toward Licensure & Ways You Can Help

(For background on the Licensure issue see earlier In Touch article)

An end-of-year report submitted by Kathy Boada, Terry Eberly and MeLea Mihok, of the CSHA Licensure Committee reveals that they have been extremely active since January, "meeting monthly to secure licensure for speech pathologists and audiologists in the state of Colorado." The committee succeeded in selecting a lobbyist, Jennifer Mello, to assist in the pursuit of a licensure law that will meet the needs of Colorado speech-language pathology professionals and consumers alike. Jennifer facilitated a meeting between members of the CSHA Licensure Committee and administrators from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) in order to prepare them for submission of the sunrise application for licensure. "Currently, the Licensure Committee is hard at work drafting that document. The committee is pleased with the level of participation of CSHA members from all work settings in the drafting of this document and of the assistance from Eileen Crowe at ASHA. The Committee also sent out special thanks to Renee Karantounis, Kaylee Skidmore, Stephanie Coe, Catherine Curran, Kathy Fahey, Connie Carson, Brianna Lay and Audrey Serazio."

Summary of other Committee Activities 2010: (continued)

September – December: Several meetings were held with various education groups including CDE, CASE (Colorado Association of School Executives), CASB (Colorado Association of School Boards), the Consortium of Special Education Directors and the BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services); additionally initial contact has been made with the medical community.

Call captains have been organized for over 14 different areas around the state. Call captains are asked to gather 10-15 names of SLPs or Audiologists in their area that they can contact (via email and/or phone) when an important public policy or regulatory issue comes up. CSHA anticipates a growing, but simple role for these groups – no more than 5 minutes of anyone’s time to respond – as they become more active in the public policy arena.

October: Secured a legislative sponsor--Representative Sue Schafer from Jefferson County.
November: The CSHA Public Policy Committee actively participated in the Colorado Medicaid Benefits Collaborative, responding to requests for public comment on several issues including Neuromuscular Electronic Stimulation (NMES) & coverage for AAC devices.

Three Specific Ways to Help:

If you are active in no other way, please know that your membership in CSHA has helped us have a voice on Capitol Hill!! Priceless!

Can anyone do what you do? Why is it in the best interest of the consumer that only qualified individuals provide speech-language pathology services? One area of importance in applying for professional licensure is to demonstrate why it is in the best interest of the consumer that only qualified individuals provide the service. To address this issue, we must demonstrate that there is consumer harm when unqualified, unregulated providers provide speech-language pathology services. We are in the process of collecting this information (gathering data from complaints received at the CSHA office, national data available through ASHA & professional liability insurance providers etc.), but can use your help as well. If you are aware of a situation where substandard services were provided, please send an email to the CSHA office. The committee thanks you in advance for your help.

The committee is seeking more information and documentation regarding the following issues:
• Unqualified providers representing themselves as Speech-Language Pathologist
• Individuals providing speech and language services outside of their scope of practice
• Questionable billing practices or ethical practices (but since there is no regulatory board, there is no one to report these concerns to…)
• Insurance reimbursement problems because of lack of licensure (unable to get on provider rolls, difficulty submitting claims or having claims rejected)
• Safety issues (such as with the provision of feeding/swallowing therapy by untrained providers, thermal/electrical stimulation etc.),
• Loss of time or money or delay in appropriate treatment due to incompetent evaluation or therapy provision
• speech-language pathology assistants were asked to provide services beyond their scope or training
• inadequate supervision of speech-language assistants
• instances where services were provided by unqualified individuals, etc.

Please request forms to assist you in collecting this information. These forms can be sent to your contacts or you can ask them to write a letter. Remember: Identifying information related to the person or practice about whom the concern is written is NOT needed. HOWEVER, we do need the name & contact information of the person submitting the information. Please send all documentation to Kathy Boada, Co-Chair, at boada.katheryn@tchden.org

Do you live in the following areas? We need a few more Call Captains willing to collect a list of contacts in their area for a rapid response to contact legislators. (When the time comes, CSHA will provide all information.)
• Pueblo
• Vail/Breckenridge
• Aspen/Gunnison/San Luis Valley
• Eastern Plains
• Boulder
• Aurora
• Broomfield
• Adams County

Please contact the CSHA office if you are willing and able! Cshassoc@aol.com