Advocacy Update: 02/26/2021

TAASLP Day on the Hill 2021

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

We are so excited about our 2021 Day on the Hill!  The date for DOTH is 3/23/2021.  This year, we will be virtual, and there will be multiple ways to engage with our legislators and different learning events!  This event will run from 8:30 am-1:00 pm CT and will be available for 0.45 ASHA CEUs.

We will start with an overview of important advocacy topics in our field in Tennessee, and then Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor from ETSU will be presenting information about Advocacy 101!  From there, we will have a chance to meet virtually with some of our legislators, and after that, we will have an open invitation to all of the legislators in our General Assembly to come join us as we share what it means to be a professional and/or student in the field of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology in Tennessee! 

This last session will be so exciting as we will have a chance to really highlight our profession and let our legislators know why our field matters in Tennessee!  We’d love to have each of you consider sending in a picture or maybe recording a brief video of how YOU are serving your clients in your community and why you do the work you do!  For our undergraduate and graduate students, this is a perfect year for you to get involved!  We’d love to have you send in a brief recording or a picture of why YOU chose this field and how you are already making a difference too!

A Zoom link will be sent out closer to the date of the event along with additional information about talking with and meeting with legislators. 

CLICK HERE to register!

If you have any questions, please contact Jamie Seek at  Thank you! 


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.  

Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor is Chair and Professor at East Tennessee State University, and she receives compensation for those activities.  Dr. Sirmon-Taylor has no relevant non-financial relationships to disclose.   

Jamie Seek has no relevant financial or non-financial relationships to disclose.  

This course is offered for .45 CEUs (Introductory level, Related area) 

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!