Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association


MSHA Legislative Update

August 2016


The current Legislative Council continues for the time frame: January 2015-December 2017. The Massachusetts Speech Language and Hearing Association (MSHA) is tracking various bills in Massachusetts including hot topics such as access to telemedicine, improving AAC methods, addressing the needs of children with dyslexia, and providing increased access to hearing aids.  


 

House Bill 3879 (Formally House Bill 228)

08/24/2016: HB3879 an act providing provisional licensure for speech-language pathologists was not passed during the formal legislative sessions, which ended on July 31, 2016.

Despite being initially accepted as an amendment to the Senate version of the Economic Development package. Our language was removed in conference committee simply because there were too many amendments for them to consider in the time allotted.

However, HB 3879 is not dead. Thanks to all of your consistent advocacy, HB 3879 is positioned to continue to be considered in the informal legislative sessions that will be occurring between now and the end of the calendar year.

 

MSHA will continue to advocate for passage of HB. 3879 and thank you all for your continued support and commitment to the advocacy efforts of our profession.

 

Please find information regarding the bill here https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3879/History or on MSHA's own Medicare Blog "Medicare Policy: Clinical Fellows and H.3879."

 

5/23/2016: The Massachusetts Speech Language and Hearing Association is pleased to announce that House Bill 228, an act providing provisional licensure for speech-language pathologists has been reported favorably by Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and referred to the House Committee on Ways & Means. With MSHA’s advocacy efforts we will aim for a hearing and then for a Vote on the bill, ensuring its passage before the end of the legislative session.


MSHA has been actively engaged in working to ensure passage of HB. 3879. Adopting this bill will allow therapists in their clinical fellowship to possess a provisional license and, thus, bill insurers and provide patients, students, and clients with uninterrupted therapy services. The Senate Chair is James Welch of Springfield area and the House Chair is Jeffrey Sanchez of Jamaica Plain. Barbara L'Italien (Licensure committee co-chair) is a member on the Senate side.

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Cognitive Rehabilitation

Cognitive Rehabilitation

HB 843 is now SB 485: An Act relative to cognitive rehabilitation was heard by the Joint Committee on Financial Services. Over 20 testimonies were heard and recorded.

05/18/16: Extension order filed (until July 6, 2016)

  • 07/11/16 - S - Accompanied study order
  • 07/13/16 - S - Reported ought NOT to pass by committee (under Joint Rule 10)
  • 07/13/16 - S - Recommitted to committee on Financial Services
  • • 07/22/16 - S - Accompanied study order


SB 485 formally HB 843 would require private insurance companies to cover post-acute cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with acquired and traumatic brain injury—that means better access to care for people who need it.


You can also share your story! If you or a loved one has been impacted by a brain injury or if you are a healthcare professional, share your experiences with legislators. Whether coverage for post-acute cognitive rehabilitation services was denied or whether they were covered and provided, your story can help! Go to https://biama.wufoo.com/forms/cognitive-rehabilitation-bill-s485h843/ to share your experience


Audiology

HB 2680 - provide a $500 hearing aid tax credit 

6/30/15: Hearing scheduled with the Joint Committee on Revenue

3/17/2016: Accompanied study order


HB 262 - provide increased access to hearing aids

05/18/16 - H - Reported favorably by Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

05/18/16 - H - Referred to House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling

  • 07/29/16 - House Session (7/30/16 11:00 AM House Chamber)

HB 942 - providing hearing aid coverage for persons with profound hearing loss

11/5/15: Hearing scheduled with financial services, awaiting results of hearing, testimonies in support heard

3/16/2016: Accompanied study order


HB 946 - providing coverage for hearing aids ...legislation provides health benefit plan coverage for hearing aids

11/5/15: Hearing scheduled with financial services, awaiting results of hearing

  • 05/11/16 - H - Reported ought NOT to pass by committee (under Joint Rule 10)
  • 05/11/16 - H - Recommitted to committee on Financial Services

Teletherapy

HB 1944 - mandated coverage for telemedicine services relative patient access to health care services

9/29/15: Hearing Scheduled with Joint Committee on Public Health, awaiting results of hearing

ASHA Comments to MA Regarding Coverage H 1944

3/15/2016: Extension order filed (until June 30, 2016)

  • 07/06/16 - H - Accompanied study order

HB 267 - advancing and expanding access to telemedicine services ...all payers and the Medicaid program

05/02/16 - H - Extension order filed (until June 22, 2016)

  • 07/16 - H - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • 07/07/16 - H - New draft substituted - see HB4442

HB 4442 advancing and expanding access to telemedicine services (identical to HB267)

  • 07/07/16 - H - New draft of HB267
  • 07/07/16 - H - Referred to House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling
  • 07/28/16 - H - Placed in the Orders of the Day for the next session
  • 07/29/16 - House Session (7/30/16 11:00 AM House Chamber)

AAC

HB 318 - improve augmentative and alternative communication opportunities for children with disabilities ...preparation in the use of augmentative and alternative communication for students

6/17/2015: Hearing scheduled with the committee on Education. Testimonies in support heard

  • 16 - H - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Education
  • 06/16/16 - H - New draft substituted - See HB4407

HB4407-improve augmentative and alternative communication opportunities for children with disabilities by providing optional education for teachers 

06/16/16-Referred to Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing 

 

HB 777/HB 837/HB 887 - require health care coverage for medically necessary treatment for speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, disease, illness, injury or bodily dysfunction which are required by a student’s individual educational program ...are required by a student’s individual educational program

01/12/16: Hearing Schedule with the Joint Committee on Financial Services, awaiting results of hearing

03/16/2016: Accompanied study order


Craniofacial

HB 4206 (formally HB 953) An Act relative to insurance coverage for craniofacial disorders

11/5/15: Hearing Scheduled with Joint Committee on Financial Services, awaiting results of hearing

05/02/2016: Extension order filed (until June 22, 2016)

  • 06/29/16 - H - Reported favorably by Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • 06/29/16 - H - Referred to House Committee on Ways & Means

HB 949 - making corrective amendments to Chapter 234 of the Acts of 2012 47CC ...cover the cost of treating cleft lip and cleft palate for children

04/21/16 - H - Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

05/02/16 - H - Extension order filed (until June 22, 2016)

  • 06/16/16 - H - Reported favorably by Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • 06/16/16 - H - Referred to House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling
  • 07/18/16 - H - Placed in the Orders of the Day for the next session
  • 07/18/16 - H - Ordered to a third reading
  • 07/22/16 - House Session (7/23/16 11:00 AM House Chamber)
  • 07/29/16 - House Session (7/30/16 11:00 AM House Chamber)


HB 950 - cover the cost of treating cleft lip and cleft palate for children

04/21/16 - H - Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

04/29/16 - H - Extension order filed (until June 22, 2016)

  • 06/16/16 - H - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • 06/16/16 - H - Referred to House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling with the amendment pending
  • 07/18/16 - H - Amendment(s) adopted (Health Care Financing)
  • 07/18/16 - H - Placed in the Orders of the Day for the next session
  • 07/18/16 - H - Ordered to a third reading
  • 07/22/16 - House Session (7/23/16 11:00 AM House Chamber)
  • 07/29/16 - House Session (7/30/16 11:00 AM House Chamber)

Autism

HB 969 - relative to the definition of autism in the children's autism Medicaid waiver ...definition of Autism in the children's Autism Medicaid waiver.

  • 7/1/15: Hearing scheduled with the committee on Health Care Financing, awaiting results of hearing.
  • 06/26/15 - Hearing Scheduled (7/1/15 11:00 am - Joint Committee on Health Care Financing B-2)
  • Action: 09/21/16 - H - Accompanied study order


Health Care Financing

HB 1026 - establishes a Massachusetts Health Care Trust, which will be the single-payer body responsible for the collection and disbursement of funds required to provide health care services for every resident of the Commonwealth.

  • 3/22/2016: Referred to the committee on Health Care Financing
  • Action: 09/21/16 - H - Accompanied study order

 

Dyslexia

HB 463 - An Act relative to providing screening for dyslexia

06/10/15 - Hearing Scheduled (6/17/15 10:00 am - Joint Committee on Education A-1)

03/16/16 - H - Extension order filed (June 3, 2016)

  • 06/16/16 - H - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Education carrying SB312
  • 06/16/16 - H - New draft substituted - see HB4406

HB 4406-An Act Relative to Dyslexia- complete re-write of HB 463

06/16/16- Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means 

SB312 - Sen. L'Italien, Barbara (D) - An Act to address the special education needs of children with dyslexia

03/16/16 - S - Extension order filed (June 3, 2016)

06/16/16 - S - Attached to favorable report by Joint Committee of HB463

 

ABA

HB1823 - Rep. Scibak, John (D) - An Act creating a special commission on applied behavior analysis

  • 03/07/16 - H - Reported favorably by Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • 03/07/16 - H - Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • Action: 09/21/16 - H - Accompanied study order

 

SB79 - Sen. Joyce, Brian (D) - An Act creating a special commission on behavior modification

  • 01/14/16 - S - Referred to Joint Committee on Rules
  • 01/19/16 - S - Referred to Senate Committee on Rules

If you would like more information on any of the above bills, have questions about other bills MSHA is tracking, or would like to assist the GAC in its advocacy efforts, please contact Briana O'Neill at boneillslp@gmail.com. If you would like to know who your legislators are and/or how to contact them, please visit the General Court of Massachusetts at http://www.malegislature.gov.

Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association
465 Waverley Oaks Road, Suite 421, Waltham, MA 02452
Phone: 781-647-7031
theoffice@mshahearsay.org
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