Please consider donating to either the OSHPAC or to the Julie S. Kelly Memorial Scholarship fund. Both the OSHPAC and the Scholarship fund serve to ensure the future of our profession in the State of Ohio. With your support, the Academy will continue to support deserving students entering our profession, and the OSHPAC will continue to support our advocacy efforts at the State level.

The Governmental Affairs Coalition continues to be the leading voice for audiology in Ohio. Our lobbyist and GAC affect change at the state level all the time. Recently, OAA’s representatives provided critical input into the development of recently introduced HB 243, requiring insurance coverage for children’s hearing aids, without which audiologists may not have been included as providers! This bill has bipartisan support and OAA and parents support the passage.  Our voice is important because if we don’t speak up, someone else will, and we need to speak into the microphone.  Almost 50% of your dues for the Ohio Academy of Audiology go directly to the critical effort of funding our voice at the legislative level.

 

We would like to highlight some of the important work in 2019 that GAC has performed to support you as audiologists in the state of Ohio and the patients you serve:

 

  • Met with representatives of the newly elected DeWine administration to discuss GAC and our priorities;
  • Met with advocates of the LEAD-K movement to explain our concerns with possible legislation;
  • Participated in a conference call with Susan Adams of ASHA regarding LEAD-K;
  • Organized and led a coalition of 35 organizations to explore recommendations for Medicaid procurement of managed care contracts;
  • Successfully advocated for renewal of OHAAP, protection of special education weighted funding formula and continuation of Medicaid expansion in biennial budget bill;
  • Met with representatives to discuss the possibility of a hearing aid insurance mandate bill, which led to the introduction of HB 243;
  • Met with the occupational therapy association to discuss a memorandum of understanding related to the Medicaid Schools Program;
  • Participated in a call with ASHA and the Council of State Governments on state compact legislation, and followed up with names of Ohio legislators who may be interested in participating in a summit on the issue;
  • Met with the sponsor of HB 129 to suggest revisions to his legislation which would allow motorcyclists to wear hearing protection in both ears while riding;
  • Presented testimony to Ohio Medicaid on its telemedicine rule, 5160-1-18, requesting that the rule’s scope be broadened to include SLP and audiology services;
  • Participated in press conference on hearing aid insurance mandate bill, HB 243;
  • Participated in a conference call with OSHPB regarding audiology assistants;
  • Met with a legislator to discuss outreach to ODE for release of the final report from the School Workforce Shortage Taskforce;
  • Reviewed revisions to the Medicaid provider eligibility rule and the ODH Universal Newborn Hearing Screening rules; and
  • Agreed to participate in a January 2020 ASHA webinar segment regarding the importance of advocacy.

 

As you can see the GAC is YOUR voice when it comes to issues directly impacting you and your patients in the state of Ohio. We urge you to continue to pledge your financial and professional support for the GAC by continuing your membership with the Ohio Academy of Audiology and through your continued donations to the GAC. Together as a team we can protect the scope of practice in audiology in the state of Ohio and continue to fight for what our patients need in terms of hearing and balance healthcare!

Some of the past important legislation the GAC with support from OAA has helped shape:

2014

  • Secured passage of HB 109, which set forth parameters for the sales of hearing aids over the internet and through the mail;
  • Offered testimony on Ohio Medicaid telemedicine rule, 5160-1-18 requesting that the rule’s scope be broadened to include SLP and audiology services;
  • Worked with ODE and JCARR on rule 3301-51-09, which outlines how workload is to be calculated for all related services personnel, including speech-language pathologists and educational audiologists;
  • Collaborated with ODH on drafting rules for the newly created Ohio Hearing Aid Assistance Program (OHAAP);
  • Communicated with Susan Adams at ASHA regarding SB 264, which created a study of school caseloads;
  • Offered comments on Ohio Medicaid rule OAC 5160-8-34, regarding "Skilled Therapy Payment;"
  • Organized and led a workgroup with the OTs, PTs, School Psychologists, ESCs, universities, and Superintendents to begin data collection for a new caseload/workload proposal to ODE;
  • Collaborated with Susan Adams at ASHA on opposition to HB 546, which would license music therapists;
  • Participated in the Workforce Integration Taskforce focusing on employment barriers for deaf Ohioans; and
  • Reviewed and commented on revisions to the Medicaid Schools Program rules.

 

2015

  • Testified in support of and successfully lobbied for passage of HB 234, which allowed noise suppressors on hunting guns in order to protect the hunter’s hearing;
  • Successfully advocated for renewal of OHAAP, protection of special education weighted funding formula and continuation of Medicaid expansion in biennial budget bill;
  • Obtained a legislative resolution honoring Case Western Reserve University’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Program for 50 years of accreditation through the ASHA Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology;
  • Met with OhioMeansJobs to discuss hiring opportunities for deaf individuals;
  • Testified in support of HB 98, which created Childhood Apraxia of Speech Awareness Day;
  • Organized a coalition including the OTs, PTs, and licensure boards to successfully oppose HB 184, which would have licensed music therapists;
  • Communicated with Susan Adams about opposition to HB 184;
  • Successfully opposed SB 194 which sought to license “alternative health practices;”
  • Met with the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency (OOD) to discuss changes to its reimbursement standards for hearing aids provided by the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation;
  • Obtained a resolution from Governor Kasich naming October 2015 “Ohio Audiology Awareness and Protect Your Hearing” Month; and
  • Met with the Governor’s Workforce Development Office regarding the shortage of SLPs.

 

2016

  • Organized and met with representatives of other licensed professional groups to determine a position on licensure board composition in light of the NC Dental Board decision from the US Supreme Court;
  • Testified in support of HB 431 which named February 17th as “Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day;”
  • Collaborated on a response to Ohio Medicaid’s policy proposal to require a prescription for SLP and audiology services in the schools;
  • Met with ODH to discuss concerns with the administration of the OHAAP program;
  • Supported passage of HB 350, mandating insurance parity for autism;
  • Created and implemented a survey of related services personnel in the schools to which 215 school districts responded;
  • Persuaded Ohio Medicaid to ask for an extension on implementation of the prescription requirement for the Medicaid Schools Program;
  • Met with the OBSLPA to discuss audiology assistants;
  • Successfully amended HB 503 to require that OOD establish its fee schedule through the standard rule making process;
  • Successfully amended HB 89 to fix the Medicaid prescription for school services problem by allowing SLPs and audiologists to be categorized as “ordering, referring and prescribing” providers;
  • Obtained a resolution declaring October “Audiology Awareness Month;” and
  • Opposed SB 366/HB 617 which would have consolidated the OBSLPA with 12 other licensure boards.

 

2017

  • Successfully advocated for renewal of OHAAP, protection of special education weighted funding formula and continuation of Medicaid expansion in biennial budget bill;
  • Successfully opposed language in the budget bill that would have consolidated the OBSLPA with the Optometry, Optical Dispensers Board;
  • Amended the budget bill to create the School Workforce Shortage Taskforce;
  • Secured amendment language to ensure that GAC member organizations were represented on the Taskforce;
  • Provided information to Susan Adams at ASHA on Ohio Medicaid’s changes to the ordering, referring and prescribing standards, provisions of the Ohio budget bill and SB 110, regarding identification of healthcare workers;
  • Met with stakeholders to gather comments on Ohio Medicaid speech generating device rules;
  • Submitted comments to Ohio Medicaid on the speech generating device rules;
  • Met in person with Ohio Medicaid on suggested revisions to speech generating device rules;
  • Collaborated with Gregg Thornton on the merger with the Hearing Aid Dealers Board;
  • Recommended Gregg Thornton to take over as the head of the new OSHPB;
  • Advocated for the re/appointment of GAC members to the OSHPB; and
  • Submitted comments on the ODE preschool special education rules;

 

2018

  • Attended the ODE Related Service Provider Shortage Taskforce and provided background materials through taskforce members;
  • Met again with Ohio Medicaid on the speech generating device rules;
  • Submitted comments on the Ohio Medicaid work waiver;
  • Met with music therapists about the possible reintroduction of their licensure bill and explained our continued opposition to their trespass into our scopes of practice;
  • Collaborated with the Ohio School Health Services Association on the Medicaid Schools Program and the implementation of the ordering, referring, prescribing provider provisions;
  • Met with the OSHPB regarding their legislation to update licensure laws;
  • Shared information with Susan Adams at ASHA regarding Ohio music therapy licensure efforts;
  • Testified and successfully opposed HB 557, which would have licensed art therapists in Ohio;
  • Advocated for and achieved several changes to the Medicaid speech generating device rule, including a provision that requires that no other device other than that which was prescribed by the SLP could be provided to the consumer;
  • Opposed SB 255 which would require all occupational licensing boards to be renewed at least one every five years by the General Assembly;
  • Coordinated submission of ASHA testimony on SB255;
  • Communicated with ASHA and the OSHPB on state compact legislation; and
  • Assisted the OSHPB with lame duck passage HB 420, which included the update to its licensure laws.

 

Have questions about the GAC? Your GAC representatives for OAA are:

Gina Hounam
Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive
Columbus, OH
43205
e-mail: [email protected]

Christina Roup
110 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road
Columbus, OH
43210
e-mail: [email protected]

 

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Voluntary OSHPAC Contribution

The Ohio Speech and Hearing Political Action Committee (OSHPAC) seeks to advance policy goals important to the practice of audiology and our membership through solicitation of personal contributions from our members for distribution to state campaigns of political candidates who share these same policy goals. A Political Action Committee (PAC) provides a means for the state association to pool funds of our members to support the re-election (or election) of candidates who support audiology issues and provides a mechanism to show these elected officials that the association’s membership is committed to participating in the political process.