OSHGAC-White Paper Document
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OSHGAC: OHIO SPEECH AND HEARING GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COALITION
WHO WE ARE:
Founded in 1982, OSHGAC is a coalition of speech and hearing professionals. Our member organizations include:
• The Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association, with 2600+ members;
• The Ohio School Speech Pathology and Educational Audiology Coalition with 600+ members;
• The Ohio Academy of Audiology, with 200+ members; and
• The Ohio Council of Speech and Hearing Administrators, with 7 members.
WHAT WE DO:
• Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide screenings, evaluations, treatment, and consultation in the areas of
speech (articulation, dysarthria, apraxia, stuttering), language (developmental language problems, aphasia, head
trauma), voice disorders, and dysphagia (eating and swallowing disorders).
• Audiologists diagnose, treat and manage individuals with hearing loss and/or balance disorders. Services provided
by audiologists include hearing evaluation, hearing aid and assistive listening device evaluation and fitting, aural (re)
habilitation and counseling, tinnitus evaluation and management, cochlear implant adjustment and mapping, hearing
conservation programs, intraoperative monitoring, auditory processing evaluation and management, and vestibular
evaluation and rehabilitation.
• Speech-language pathologists and audiologists serve all ages, from newborn to elderly, in settings such as hospitals,
medical centers, public and private schools, universities, community speech and hearing centers, rehabilitation
agencies, nursing homes, Head Start programs, VA Clinics, government health agencies, facilities for persons with
multiple handicaps and private practice offices.
CRITICAL ISSUES IN 2013:
HB 109: Internet Hearing Aid Sales – More consumers are purchasing their hearing aids over the internet without taking precautions to ensure whether they are an appropriate candidate for amplification or whether some other medical issue might be causing their hearing loss. Without a proper in-person hearing examination, consumers can face serious health risks. Ohio citizens deserve additional consumer protections to ensure that their hearing health is adequately protected.To protect Ohio consumers, we support passage of HB 109, sponsored by Rep. Rex Damschroder.
Children’s Hearing Aid Benefits – Ohio passed a bill requiring newborn hearing screening in May 2002; once identified with hearing loss, we must ensure that kids have access to the hearing technology they need to be successful in school and life. Many children with hearing loss are unable to acquire hearing aids because their parent’s commercial insurance benefit is insufficient. For many families, $4,400 out-of-pocket cost for two hearing aids is simply out of reach. We support the budget bill language which creates a safety net funding source for qualified families.
Medicaid Eligibility Expansion – Expanding eligibility to more Ohioans will improve the health of our communities and save Ohio tax dollars. Allowing expansion will help meet the healthcare needs of 500,000 currently uninsured Ohioans,thereby reducing uncompensated care in Ohio by as much as $2.3 billion through 2019. Overall, the impact of raising eligibility to 138% will allow Ohio to realize an overall tax savings of $1.4 billion through 2022.
School Staffing Shortages –Ohio’s caseload ratio for SLPs in the schools is 80:1, which is one of the highest in the nation. OSHGAC is closely following the studies of various workload/caseload management models being conducted by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Once ODE has completed those studies and analyzed that data, we will work with ODE to overhaul Ohio’s caseload ratio system. With so many students on their caseloads, our school SLPs find it more andmore difficult to provide the services, which are required by the students IEPs and which the students need to succeed.