Advocacy Update

TAASLP Day on the Hill 2022 
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 

Join us virtually and represent our key service bills!



8:30-9:00 Welcome, Orientation, and Discussion of Current Legislative issues impacting Profession/Clients in SLP/AUD – Heather Meshell, Courtney Atnip, and Jessica Lenden-Holt 

9:00-10:00 Advocacy 101 – Tim Boyd

[Tim Boyd has served as ASHA’s Director of State Health Care and Education Affairs since July 2019. Before joining ASHA, Tim worked on state policy for the National Organization for Rare Disorders and state/federal policy for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Tim earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara and an M.P.H. from the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health]


10:00-10:15 Break 

10:15-12:30 Visits with Legislators as assigned  

12:00-12:45 Spend some time with our Legislators and show them a Day in the Life of a SLP/AuD/Graduate Student!   

12:45-1:00 Wrap up Meeting 


Learning outcomes

Participants will be able to:  

1. To explain the procedure of introducing and moving a bill through the State

2. To identify critical legislative issues for SLP/AuD practice in Tennessee 

3. To advocate for their profession and clients by meeting with legislators 

Heather Meshell and Courtney Atnip are contracted as lobbyists for TAASLP and receive compensation for those activities. Heather Meshell and Courtney Atnip have no relevant non-financial relationships to disclose.  
Jessica Lenden-Holt has no relevant financial or non-financial relationships to disclose.  

This program is offered for .40 CEUs (Introductory, Professional)



TAASLP Day on the Hill was held virtually this year on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Eighteen audiologists and speech-language pathologists joined us for a variety of different sessions, which included an introductory session led by Courtney Atnip and Heather Meshell from Capitol and 5th Public Strategies. We also had an Advocacy 101 session led by Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor from East Tennessee State University. This session helped us to learn more about the power of grassroots advocacy! After our Advocacy 101 session, we had a chance to have meetings with legislators, including Representatives Bob Freeman, Tom Leatherwood, Tandy Darby, and Darren Jernigan. Our meetings focused on current legislation that TAASLP is helping to move through the General Assembly with a focus on telehealth for graduate students (SB0508/HB1265) and the school-based SLP survey (SB0233/HB0023). During our virtual “meet and greet,” Senator Becky Massey stopped by, and we had a wonderful conversation with her about the importance of telehealth and caseload caps. She also shared with us her legislation around the Deaf Mentor Program (SB 0248/HB0631). Overall, it was a very successful day as we were able to share the impact that audiologists and speech-language pathologists have across Tennessee!

ADVOCACY UPDATE: 11/15/2020:

Audiologists and speech-language pathologists are set to experience significant payment reductions from Medicare Part B services starting in 2021 unless we act now!  To read more about these potential cuts, please follow this link:  CLICK HERE

A new bill to address proposed 2021 Medicare Part B cuts to reimbursement of audiology and speech-language pathology services has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 8702, the Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act of 2020, would help address these cuts by providing relief payments to audiologists and SLPs in an amount that will ensure parity with current payment for impacted services for the next two years until a longer-term solution is developed. 

Please follow the link to contact your U.S. Representative today, asking for their support for H.R. 8702! CLICK HERE


ADVOCACY UPDATE: 10/12/2020:

School SLPs…

Did you know that TAASLP has legislation that is moving through the Tennessee Senate Education Committee related to school SLPs? HB2335/SB2284 calls for a survey of school districts across Tennessee related to staffing and workloads/caseloads for SLPs in the schools in Tennessee. The survey will be carried out via the Tennessee Department of Education. This survey will hopefully provide additional data to support school SLPs and the issues that are often present in regards to caseload size across our State. While it is currently in a holding pattern in the Senate Education Committee due to COVID, TAASLP is hopeful, it will move forward once the next legislative session opens up again, so more information to follow.

In the meantime, TAASLP is preparing a series of outreach events to provide a more in depth understanding of legislative issues around the workload/caseload topic as well as different resources and opportunities related to caseload management and workloads/caseloads. TAASLP Advocacy will also be joining some of the TDOE’s regional calls to discuss some different options surrounding caseload management options. Please stay tuned for some more information related to these outreach events as TAASLP Advocacy wants to make sure you have the information you need to stay connected and informed!



Great news from Nashville!! Your advocacy efforts on telehealth were successful!!

HB8002/SB8003 was passed yesterday and is heading to Governor Lee’s desk for his signature. This bill expands the definition of healthcare provider in the Tennessee Telepractice Statute for those of us (including SLPs and Audiologists) licensed under Title 63 and ALLOWS us to use telehealth as a service modality if we are licensed under Title 63 until 4/1/2022. This bill also allows full insurance payment parity for telehealth services until 4/1/2022. The deadline on this legislation expiring is far enough out in order to allow TAASLP to continue to do work around the practice act for SLPs and Audiologists, which will be work that is needed in the General Assembly.

Your advocacy efforts worked! SLPs and Audiologists that are using their State Health Board licenses to use telehealth are now able to do so (until 4/1/2022) without having the Governor’s Executive Order. TAASLP could not have done this without you — thank you for getting behind this advocacy effort!

We also could not have done this without Chairperson Robin Smith (; (615) 741-2548) and Representative Bryan Terry (; (615) 741-2180). If you would like to reach out to these two amazing Representatives and send them a thank you, that would be great! They truly advocated for SLPs and Audiologists to be included in this legislation. Thank you, Representative Smith and Representative Terry!

We would also like to thank our lobbyists, Courtney Atnip and Heather Meshell at Capitol & 5th Public Strategies as we would not be in this better spot today without you. Thank you for your tireless efforts on our behalf!

TAASLP knows there is still work to be done on telehealth and our practice act, but we are no longer under the Governor’s EO with an expiration date of 08/29/2020. We now have legislation to protect SLPs and Audiologists licensed under Title 63 toward using telehealth into 2022!


Legislative Affairs

The Legislative Affairs Committee is charged with monitoring, developing, and advocating for legislation that affects audiologists and speech-language pathologists and the clients and patients they serve.  The VP for Legislative Affairs works closely with the TAASLP lobbyist to develop strategies for engaging legislators in issues pertinent to our professions.  The Reimbursement Committee is a subcommittee of the Legislative Affairs Committee and works to ensure that members receive the most current information regarding rules and regulations for reimbursement and also advocates for reimbursement for our services.

TAASLP conducts periodic ‘Day on the Hill’ events to allow members to meet with their legislators and directly advocate for our professions at Legislative Plaza

Current Projects

  • TAASLP is currently analyzing school SLP caseload data, with an end goal of introducing caseload or workload caps in Tennessee
  • TAASLP continues to monitor on going changes to the Affordable Care Act in Tennessee and its effect on provision of services by audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • TAASLP is participating in developing rule regarding telepractice for audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • New Laws of Special Interest to TAASLP


2019 – Assisted in the repeal of the Professional Privilege Tax for 15 of the original 22 professions, including Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists
2019 – Introduced successful legislation which established a provisional license for SLP Clinical Fellows (CFs), allowing them to be reimbursed by Medicare and other third-party payers
2015 – Introduced legislation to repeal the Professional Privilege Tax. Our efforts contributed to the study that is being signed into law (as of 4.22.16)
2011 – Received ASHA STAR grant for developing student advocacy participation at the state level.  Conducted ‘Day on the Hill’ event for undergraduate and graduate students from across the state
2011 – Legislation mandating insurance coverage for hearing aids for children passed
2007 – Legislation explicitly allowing speech-language pathologists to perform endoscopy passed
Advocated for legislation mandating newborn hearing screening
Advocated for insurance mandate for autism coverage

If you would like to be involved in the Legislative Affairs Committee, or would like to discuss current and/or prospective legislation, please contact TAASLP VP Legislative Affairs at

Thanks for all you do to support infants, children, and adults with communication, balance, and swallowing disorders!