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Legislative News

By being a member of ArSHA you are helping to protect the licenses of Arizona's Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.   Listed below are reports on legislative issues impacting speech and hearing professionals in Arizona.

Additional information regarding specific bills put before the Arizona State Legislature can be found here: http://www.azleg.gov/bills.asp


Senate Passes Historic SGR Repeal

On Tuesday evening, the Senate passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2), thus permanently repealing the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The Senate ushered this legislation through with a vote of 92–8, marking the end of nearly 13 years of debate and 17 temporary patches blocking implementation of the SGR formula.

The House passed H.R. 2 in late March, with the Senate promising to review the measure after its two-week spring recess. Tuesday’s Senate vote comes on the eve of the April 15 deadline when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would begin to apply the scheduled 21 percent negative update to reimbursement payments for providers.

The Senate voted not to adopt any of the six amendments proposed to H.R. 2, meaning that the SGR repeal will now go straight to the President for signature. The bill replaces the SGR with a 0.5 percent increase in Medicare reimbursement beginning July 2015 and extending through December 2015. This 0.5 percent update will continue annually from 2016–2019.

H.R. 2 marks a transition from a fee-for-service to a value-based payment system for all Medicare providers. In the next few weeks, the Academy will be analyzing the legislation and will keep our members informed regarding its implementation. H.R. 2 also reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years and contains an extension of certain expiring provisions in Medicare, such as payment for therapy services, pediatric quality measures, and diabetes programs.

Bill Summary - SB1437: MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE

Adds a new chapter to Title 36 (Public Health and Safety) regulating music therapists under the Department of Health Services. Establishes qualifications for certification as a music therapist, including a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university and a minimum number of hours of clinical training and internships. Beginning October 1, 2014, the Dept is required to issue a certificate to each appliant meeting these requirements. The Dept is authorized to adopt rules to establish fees, certification period, process for renewals and other rules necessary to implement this legislation. Does not prohibit the provision of music therapy by a person who is not certified if the person does not claim to be a board certified music therapist. Self-repeals July 1, 2019. AS VETOED BY GOVERNOR. Her veto message stated that the legislation fails to grant even the most basic oversight authority to the agency charged with issuing the certificates, and that the bill contains many undefined terms that would have made it difficult to implement.

First sponsor: Sen. Ward
Others: Sen. Driggs, Sen. S. Pierce
 
General Comments (all lists):
Single List Comments:
 
SB1437  Daily History                   Date      Action

MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   4/30   VETOED
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   4/22   Senate concurred in House amendments and passed on final reading 21-6; ready for governor.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   4/9    passed House 37-21; ready for Senate action on House amendments.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   4/8    House COW approved with floor amend #4957.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   4/2    from House rules okay. Stricken from House consent calendar by Carter.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   4/1    to House consent calendar.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   3/21  from House ref-hu ser do pass.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   3/19  referred to House ref-hu ser.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   3/19  from Senate rules okay. Senate COW approved with amend #4397 and floor amend #4800; amend 4342 was withdrawn. Passed Senate 24-6; ready for House.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   2/27  from Senate appro with amend #4397.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   2/25  from Senate hel-hu ser with amend #4342.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   2/20  Senate hel-hu ser amended; report awatied.
MUSIC THERAPISTS; LICENSURE   2/5    referred to Senate hel-hu ser, appro.

Bill Summary - SB1102: HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS

Various changes relating to the regulation of hearing aid dispensers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. The Department of Health Services is required to deposit 10 percent of all monies collected for the regulation of hearing aid dispensers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists in the general fund and the remaining 90 percent in the Health Services Licensing Fund, instead of depositing all monies in the Hearing and Speech Professionals Fund to be subject to legislative appropriation. Hearing aid dispensers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists are required to renew their licenses every two years, instead of annually. Licenses issued before the effective date of this legislation expire one year after the date of issuance. Continuing education and examination requirements are modified. The Dept is required to adopt rules to reduce the regulatory burden on licensees and to prescribe an examination developed by a national organization of hearing aid dispensers that is consistent with statutory requirements. AS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.

First sponsor: Sen. Yee

General Comments (all lists):
Single List Comments:'

S1102 Daily History                                      Date    Action

HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   4/3     signed by governor. Chap. 33, Laws 2013.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   3/20   passed House 58-0; ready for governor.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   3/12   from House rules okay.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   3/11   to House consent calendar.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/27   from House hel do pass.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/19   referred to House hel.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/18   passed Senate 29-1; ready for House.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/14   Senate COW approved with amend #4072.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/12   from Senate rules okay.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/7     from Senate hel-hu ser with amend #4072.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   2/6     Senate hel-hu ser amended; report awaited.
HEARING AID DISPENSERS; AUDIOLOGISTS   1/22   referred to Senate hel-hu ser.