Current Issues in Legislation

NJSHA’s Legislative Committee works hand-in-hand with our governmental affairs consultants, Lynn Nowak and Jacy Lance at Porzio Governmental Affairs.

We are currently nearing the end of a two-year legislative session which began on January 14, 2020 and will conclude on January 11, 2022. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

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SEMI Eligibility: On February 1, 2021, led by School Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair Nicole Ford, four NJSHA members joined lobbyist Lynn Nowak on a Zoom call with representatives from the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, to discuss the impact that remote/hybrid learning has had on the provision of billable speech-language pathology services under SEMI (the Special Education Medicaid Initiative) program. We spoke with Medicaid’s Medical Director, the Chief of Behavioral Health and Director of Managed Provider Relations. NJSHA received VERBAL clarification on issues such as Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.
Telemedicine Payment/Reimbursement Parity: The COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to virtual provision of many healthcare services revealed a flaw in the 2017 law authorizing telemedicine, which was drafted to require coverage parity, but in practice, it was discovered that this did not translate to payment/reimbursement parity. In June 2020, NJSHA President Robynne Kratchman testified in front of the Assembly Health Committee to highlight the importance of resolving payment parity issues and the impact the current disparities have on providers. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

Training for Law Enforcement Officers on Individuals with Hearing Disorders or Autism: S741 (Bucco, R-Morris)/A3191 (DiMaso, R-Monmouth) permit person diagnosed with communication disability or autism to voluntarily make notation on driver’s license, identification card, and in MVC registry; establishes program to train law enforcement officers in interactions with persons with autism or communication disabilities. On May 6, 2021, NJSHA President Robynne Kratchman testified in Trenton, Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

Induction Loops: A5464 (Benson, D-Mercer) / S3660 (Greenstein, D-Mercer) requires the installation of an induction loop listening system in certain buildings open to the public upon new construction or substantial renovation. On June 10, 2021 the bill was heard Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

Advisory Council on Deaf and Hard of Hearing: In the 2018-2019 legislative session, NJSHA worked to secure amendments to this bill to add a speech language pathologist who has experience working with deaf and hard of hearing populations to the membership of the Council. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

Ally’s Act
In 2019, a girl named Ally from Colorado wrote to Congress because she needed a bone anchored hearing aid but was denied by her family’s insurance company. As of today, several US Senators, more than 40 organizations, including the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the Hearing Health Foundation and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, have endorsed Ally’s Act, H.R. 477. Ally’s Act would allow coverage for implantable hearing devices, bone anchored hearing aids and cochlear implants. Private insurance companies would allow for coverage of the devices, needed accessories, medical visits, surgery and medical visits for those aged birth to 64.

Ally and her mother continue to advocate through their organization, Ear Community. We are asking NJSHA members to write a letter by August 31 to Chairman Frank Pallone in New Jersey and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington state supporting Ally’s Act.

Please review the following links for more information, including a template to reach out to each of them.

On May 12, 2021 a critical meeting was held with key decision-makers in the Department of Law and Public Safety: Howard Pine, deputy director of the Division of Consumer Affairs and Sharon Joyce, Assistant Attorney General. NJSHA was represented by our lobbyists Lynn Nowak and Jacy Lance, as well as Robynne Kratchman, Mary Faella, Marykate Vaughn, Donna Merchant and Robin Kanis. The meeting addressed important issues, including the growing number of Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) in New Jersey providing and publicly advertising a variety of myofunctional therapy services (swallowing/oral therapy services) without having the appropriate license to do so. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

The New Jersey Department of Education: On April 7, 2021, members of the State Board of Education approved a resolution designating May as Better Hearing and Speech Month. Log into the Member Portal to continuing reading this in the Committee Resources section.

The Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee regulates the profession of audiology and speech-language pathology in New Jersey. The committee licenses audiologists and speech-language pathologists. NJSHA actively monitors this committee to stay aware of new information and provides comment/input on issues affecting the profession. The following are current issues we are tracking: Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.

Horizon Update – April 12, 2021

NJSHA has established a relationship with executives at Horizon. As a consequence, and benefit, NJSHA and Horizon has been meeting regularly with executives at Horizon to address a variety of issues brought to our attention by members. Several of these issues have been resolved. This ongoing open dialogue between NJSHA and Horizon will allow us to continue to work together on concerns as they arise in the future. Log into the Member Portal to continue reading this in the Committee Resources section.