In 2012, NMSHA was made aware of an increasing concern regarding SLPAs from other states traveling to rural New Mexico and working as a “speech therapy assistants” and serving students/clients with speech and language needs in the schools and other settings. Rural NM schools and/or contract companies were hiring these individuals and licensing them as Educational Assistants (EA)s, despite numerous attempts to get school districts to discontinue this practice. NM licensed speech-language pathologists were directed by the school districts to supervise these individuals per district regulations.
Unknown to the NM licensed Speech-Language Pathologists, their licenses were being placed in jeopardy. NMSHA brought this practice to the attention of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NM RLD). NM RLD and NMSHA worked together to develop solutions. NMSHA created a focus group to look at SLPA and Audiology Assistants (AA) in 2012, as well as conducted a survey with school districts and charter schools to determine which districts were hiring SLPA’s as Educational Assistants. This information was presented to the NMRLD . NMRLD also started having discussions to license SLPAs in the state of New Mexico to protect its citizens. The NM RDL had a framework and timeframe for presenting the SLPA certification to New Mexico Legislatures because of the growing concern.
In early 2017, RLD was asking for NMSHA’s position on the SLPA issue. Given that the board had yet to vote on the SLPA issue, a vote was taken in January of 2017 in favor of SLPA licensure.
The first draft of the SLPA certification requirements was sent to all members and posted on the NMSHA website for feedback in Fall 2016. NMSHA listened and represented all suggestions/concerns to NM RLD, and many changes were made. Thus, the second draft was developed in early spring 2017 and posted on the NMSHA website and sent to the listserve of members for feedback.
Update August 2017: At this point, few have submitted feedback on the second draft. NMSHA did post the SLPA second draft on the NMSHA website set a date June 30, 2017, for final feedback.
NMSHA will be putting together a strategic plan to support SLPAs and SLPs if it makes it through the 2019 legislation. NMSHA plans to provide training to SLPs on how to direct, manage and supervise SLPAs versus CFYs. NMSHA will be meeting with NM PED Special Education Director in September 2017 to discuss caseload/workload limits for supervising SLPs. NMSHA is now moving forward in preparation for this SPA licensure.
Update December 2017: On December 29, 2017 NM RLD Board members; Vicky Schmitz and Bridget Gunther, NMSHA Gov. Affairs VP Medical Michael Kaplin and NMSHA Gov. Affairs VP Education Shelley Kastler-Davis met to discuss the status of the SLPA issues. Discussion was around the new ASHA’s proposed SLPA certification and its time frame, NMSHA’s strategic plan for 2018 -2019, NM PED and informing them of this new license, as well as NMSHA’s ongoing effort to inform its members of this new paraprofessional license. This committee agreed that we should send ASHA a copy of the 2nd draft for review to ensure we have covered all areas and to ensure that it will complement ASHA’s new SLPA certification requirements. There was also a discussion on the current renewal application process for NM RDL and changes that may need to be considered.
Research Survey Regarding Behavioral Strategies Used by Educational Assistants
Marc Schroeder, a graduate student in the Communication Disorders Program at Eastern New Mexico University, is conducting research to find out if there a need for specialized training in behavior management for the educational professional. He is particularly interested in what behavior strategies educational professionals use, where they learned these strategies, and how effective these strategies are in practice. Information collected from this research will be used to advance clinical knowledge on behavioral techniques and necessary training required for educational professionals.
If you choose to participate, you will be asked to participate in either or both of the following:
1. To answer questions in an online survey format. No identifying information will be collected in this survey (including your IP address). The survey will be approximately 10-15 minutes in length and can be completed at any time for your convenience.
2. To answer questions in an interview format. If you agree to participate in this aspect of the research, you will be asked to provide contact information to the researcher and to sign a consent form. The researcher will contact you to conduct an interview. All information collected from interviews will be held in confidence and your name will not be associated with your responses (you will be assigned an identification number). All data collected will be stored in password protected digital files at all times.
Your decision to participate in this research is completely voluntary and your consent or declination will not affect your relationship with ENMU or your employer in any way (grades, job status, access to services, etc.). You also have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without penalty by simply exiting the survey or declining to answer any question. Please rest assured that all information disclosed will be held under the strictest confidence and will not be made available under any circumstances to another person without your express written permission. Should this research be published for scientific purposes at a later date, your identity will remain confidential.
Questions regarding this research study are welcomed and encouraged. Please address them to this researcher, Marc Schroeder, email@example.com or 505-720-6395. Questions may also be addressed to my project supervisor, Dr. Suzanne House Swift, CCC-SLP at the ENMU Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation Outreach Center, Station #3, Lea Hall, Room #225, Portales, NM 88130 (575) 562-2724; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants who elect to complete the survey online will not be asked to sign a consent form and no identifying information will be collected from them. Please access the on-line survey via the following link:
If you are interested in participating in the interview, please contact Marc Schroder directly at email@example.com and he will guide you from there.
Guidelines for the US Department of Education for Evaluation and Appropriate Treatment for ASD Students
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2017 Essential Health Benefit Plan Regarding Insurance Coverage
ASHA President, Judith Page, provides commentary and information to the New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance, John Franchini, regarding the 2017 Essential Health Benefit Plan. This plan affects speech-language and audiology insurance benefits for consumers nationwide. Access the following link for specifics:
State Advocate for Medicare Policy (STAMP)
The mission of the STAMP Network is to enhance and perpetuate the advocacy, leadership, and communication of NMSHA members to influence administrative and public policy decisions that impact Medicare coverage and reimbursement of audiology and speech-language pathology services.
STAMP Network participants are appointed by the state speech-language-hearing associations. STAMP representatives serve as a resource to fellow audiologists and speech-language pathologists regarding compliance with local and national Medicare coverage and payment policies. Andrea Fisher is the New Mexico state representative for STAMP. Send her an e-mail with your questions or concerns.
StAMP (State Advocate for Medicare Policy)
- Find your local Medicare administrative contractors [PDF] on the CMS Web site.
- See other resources such as the Medicare Fee Schedule, CCI edits, and Medicare coding rules under the Medicare Billing & Reimbursement section of ASHA’s website.
- Ask general reimbursement questions by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Advocates for Reimbursement (STARs)
A State-Based Reimbursement Network
The State Advocates for Reimbursement (STARs) are ASHA-member audiologists and speech-language pathologists who advocate in their states for improved health care coverage and reasonable reimbursement. Their targets are key decision-makers in private corporations, public agencies, and the local legislature. Examples are health care insurance executives, benefits administrators, state insurance department officials, and state congress members. STARs create advocacy strategies and share skills with the state speech-language-hearing associations that appoint them.
The New Mexico STAR representative is Michael Kaplan. Communicate reimbursement questions or concerns to Michael at the following email address:
New Mexico State Advocates for Reimbursement (STAR)