2017 Legislative Agenda

 

The Texas Speech-­‐Language-­‐Hearing Association (TSHA) has a membership of more than 5,500 speech-­‐language pathologists and audiologists statewide and is the recognized authority on the delivery   of   life-­‐changing   therapies   to consumers   throughout   Texas.     The   Texas   Speech-­‐ Language-­‐Hearing Association  (TSHA)  is  committed  to shaping  governmental  policies  and practices  in  order  to  promote  the  highest  quality  life-­‐changing  care  for individuals  with communication and related disorders. TSHA supports:

Regulatory:

  • Legislation that ensures that the Department of Licensing and Regulation / Advisory Committee for Speech-­‐Language Pathology and Audiology is empowered to protect the public by the efficient and effective regulation of the professions.
  • Legislation that protects consumers who have communication disorders and to ensure that speech-­‐language  pathologists   and   audiologists   provide   the   highest   quality   evaluation, habilitation, and rehabilitation services.

Education:

  • Legislation that provides funding for the repayment of graduate education loans to encourage speech-­‐language pathologists  and  audiologists  to  seek  employment  in  Texas  public  schools and to help alleviate critical
  • Legislation that  includes  speech-­‐language  pathologists  and  audiologists  in  any  public  school funding bill that will increase salaries for teachers and other professional staff.
  • Legislation that promotes funding for public education as necessary to provide students with an adequate and equitable education as required by the Texas constitution; TSHA also supports adequate funding for higher education.
  • Legislation that promotes adequate funding for special education programs by urging full funding of IDEA at the federal level and ensuring that existing state public education dollars are not reduced and/or rerouted (e.g., to private schools).
  • Efforts by the federal government, state government and local school districts to streamline and reduce duplication of excessive paperwork requirements thereby increasing availability of time for direct services to students.
  • Maintaining the defined benefit retirement plans for active and retired education employees through the Teacher Retirement System.

Healthcare:

  • Legislation that maintains state funding for the Texas Medicaid program to stabilize provider reimbursement rates as established by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to ensure access to high quality care across all settings.
  • Legislation that mandates improved coverage for speech, language, hearing, and balance disorders through public and private insurers for habilitative and rehabilitative services.
  • Legislation that reduces provider burden by streamlining managed care practices such that consumers have access to medically necessary services in an efficient and timely
  • Legislation that promotes increasing the size of provider networks to meet the needs of consumers across the state such that individuals have access to medically necessary services in a timely manner.