MSHA members in action.

SLPA Bill Draft

Please read the updated SLPA Bill Draft that is being proposed for this upcoming Legislative Session.  Please email or contact MSHA if you have any questions!

MSHA Convention Day 1

Today was our first day of the conference! We are at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Helena Colonial. We have had a range of speakers presenting on Differences vs Disorders for ELL, Genomics of Hearing Loss, Suicide Prevention, Students First: Role of Related Service Professionals, Documentation for Maximum Reimbursement, Growing Telepractice in MT, Throw me a LINE- Throw me a SIGN, and Supervision of Aides and Services!  It has been a fun-filled day where we were able to recognize exceptional members and providers who serve MSHA and Montanans during our MSHA Business and Awards Meeting.

Awards were given to:

  1. Meritorious Award is presented for outstanding professional achievement in the area of communication disorders of a non-technical nature or exemplary service to our organization, profession, and the communicatively impaired. Kristy Foss
  2. Achievement Award is presented for technical and/or professional achievement in the fields of speech-language pathology, audiology or any other related area concerned with the treatment of communication disorders. This award is presented to a person who has made a major contribution to the knowledge base within our professional fields, and/or to the methods or materials for the treatment and/or prevention of communication disorders. Their devotion and effort far exceed standard performance. Annalee Anderson
  3. Service Award is presented for outstanding dedication and excellence in service to the MSHA organization. Anne Juel
  4. Organizational Award is presented to an organization that has made a major contribution to increasing our knowledge of the disorders of communication, developed a new clinical tool or techniques for the treatment of communicative disorders or had exhibited virtuous attitudes and behaviors in the delivery of services to the communicatively impaired. Kalispell Regional Medical Center, First Interstate Bank of Helena
  5. Laura Jo McKamey Award (aka “Big Purse Award”) is presented to someone who has provided exemplary service to MSHA. This is someone that exemplifies a spirit of volunteerism. Carol Morse
  6. Undergraduate Student Clinical Achievement is presented for outstanding work in the area of undergraduate level clinical practice. Rob Wycoff
  7. Graduate Student Clinical Achievement is presented for outstanding work in the area of graduate-level clinical practice.     Lisa Kilsdonk, Kathleen Cotter
  8. Undergraduate Research Award is presented for outstanding work in the area of undergraduate level research. Carley Stone
  9. Graduate Research Award is presented for outstanding work in the area of graduate level research. Anya Leyhe
  10. Off-Site Supervisory Award is presented for exemplary mentorship and supervision for the professional development of communication disorders students. Carol Morse

This evening we have the Poster session spearheaded by our University of Montana Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences students and professors.

Later this evening, we have Hor d’oeuvres and beverages while we listen to Bruce Anfinson play music for us!

SLPA Draft Bill

Hello MSHA members!

We are fast approaching our Fall Convention. Here is the final proposal  SLPA bill draft for the licensure board meeting on 10/17/18. Click on the link to access the whole document.

The following are comments received by MSHA following the email blast and posting of the Assistant Draft Bill.  The responses are not from the MT Board of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists, but will be sent to them.  Please continue to send your comments and questions on this topic to MSHA.

Thank you, Lezlie Pearce-Hopper, 2018 MSHA President

“Who will be carrying the bill?”

Moffie Funk

“Change bill title to SLPA and AuDA Licensure Bill”

The title is prescribed by legislative drafting manual

“I have a question regarding the telemedicine component.  Can you specify the requirements of a “facilitator?”  I’m thinking specifically of clients who participate in telemedicine due to travel restrictions or remote locations.  I may have read it wrong.  The document is not suggesting that these clients would need to find a licensed “facilitator” to supervise their sessions on site, correct?”

The bill makes no changes to telemedicine.

“The biggest thing I noticed was that you could just repeal all of section 7 which talks about registration. Once the license is created this becomes obsolete as the “registration” was the minimal authority granted to board as opposed licensing. If assistants are licensed then they would fall under normal renewal statutes. Registration ceases to exist.”

I agree with this.  We could repeal registration.

“What are the anticipated requirements for SLPA?  What would the testing entail?”

That would be set by rulemaking by the board.  Statute is not the appropriate place to put this, as requirements may change as the profession develops, and we don’t want to have to go back to the legislature every time we need to change the licensing and testing requirements.  Most other professions are governed by rule setting testing and licensure requirements.

 “I’m not sure that the term “non-medical diagnosis” is appropriate in the description of what SLPs and AuDs may diagnose.  For example, dysphagia, and receptive or expressive aphasia are commonly used in the medical setting and are appropriately diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist.

I supervise a very excellent speech aide.  Is the board giving consideration to a grandfather clause for already established speech aides?”

This would be a better question for the board.

What is MSHA Doing Right Now?


  1. We are gearing up for fall convention, and we are excited for all SLPs and AUDs to attend our conference. We have a fantastic line-up of presenters and events throughout the convention. Register and see more here: Fall Convention
  2. MSHA is working on a Bill with the State of Montana Legislature for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Assistants. This bill will enact licensure and registration of SLP and AUD Assistants.  Please feel free to contact our MSHA President, Lezlie Pearce-Hopper if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach her at
  3. We are looking for nominations for MSHA Awards during our convention. Please email if you have a nomination you’d like recognized for one of our many awards. To see last year’s winners and a description of each of the awards click here: MSHA Awards
  4. Check your mail for the last paper version of the Communicator. You can request a paper copy by emailing MSHA.
  5. We hope to see all of you in Helena in October!



Music with Bruce Anfinson Thursday Evening @ MSHA Fall Convention

“Montana’s Musical Ambassador” — that’s what the Bozeman Chronicle called Bruce Anfinson. With the state’s natural wonders and rich cultural heritage portrayed so well in his songs, it’s a well-deserved title.

Bruce Anfinson grew up along the Missouri River, in Great Falls, Montana, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains.  His father loved to sing old Sons of the Pioneers tunes as well as classics by Bob Wills, Eddy Arnold and the like. Bruce was nine years old when his father bought him his first guitar and he learned to accompany his dad on these old tunes at family reunions and friendly get-togethers.  He started writing a few songs as a teenager and later found that music is a great vehicle for traveling and seeing the country.

Bruce now lives near Helena, Montana.  He has built his own home and state-of-the-art recording studio, where he makes recordings and raises huckleberries, horses and children, but as the Great Falls Tribune said, “What…Bruce Anfinson cultivates best are music and good times.” Anfinson’s five recordings Ballad of Minnie and Pearl, Handmade Saddle, Huckleberry Hill, Home is Where Montana Is, and A Cowboy Christmas attest to that. Anfinson often writes and performs songs about a universal subject: Food! He is known throughout the country for singing food tunes, such as Fresh Bread, Huckleberry Hill, and Homegrown Tomatos. His shows are filled with wonderful story telling and bad jokes, as well as his original and traditional songs.

The August 2018 edition of Big Sky Journal features an article on Bruce: “Local Knowledge: Home Is Where Montana Is”.




LEAD-K (Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids) is a national campaign to promote language acquisition for children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH). LEAD-K focuses primarily on efforts to pass state legislation that would require prescriptive and duplicative efforts that may undermine the authority of IFSP/IEP team. This team focuses on ASL only typically and does not support cochlear implant, auditory perception and language therapy. According to Eileen Crowe, ASHA Director of State Associations Relations this organization is a threat to SLP’s and undermines parent choices. She is urging state associations to be aware of how quickly this association is gaining momentum and how powerful they are in moving to get legislation passed.

ASHA believes that communication access and educational placement must consider a variety of factors:

Cognitive abilities

Emotional and Social development

Academic development

Linguistic skills

Family needs

In addition, ASHA supports early access to language either visual and/or listening-spoke, as well as a parent right to choose the most appropriate language and communication modality based on evidenced based information and the needs of the family.

ASHA has been a long-time supporter of early intervention services to support the acquisition of language for communication of the child’s critical years with qualified personnel providing appropriate assessment and intervention strategies.



ASHA has opposed legislation in 12 states in 2018.

ASHA has developed a white paper outlining the issue. concerns and policy statement for the Board of Director approval.

ASHA is creating a HOT Topics page for the ASHA website with a summary statement. opposition talking points, an issue brief, sample letters to legislators and sample legislation.

ASHA is developing messaging to communicate with members, state legislators and consumers.

ASHA is scheduling meetings with other stakeholder groups=American Cochlear Implant Alliance, ASG Bell. AAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics to formulate a coordinated strategy and garner support.

ASHA lobbyists met with members of the Congressional “Baby” Caucus to discuss EHDI/Parents right to choose and LEAD-K


Members are reporting ongoing and more attempts to pass legislation by the ABA

ABA are acting as gatekeepers to insurers.

ABA has been reported recommending SLP services without an evaluation or input from a SLP.

ABA have been recommending AAC devices without an evaluation.



ASHA has a HOT topics web page:

Considering a media effort to address the importance of Audiology and SLP services for children with ASD.

Developing of a clinical Claims Review page on ASD for payers.

Conferring with Autism organizations about collaborative efforts.

Monitoring/opposing legislation and regulation the defines/expands the scope of practice of ABA therapist.

Monitoring autism service mandates:

Ongoing concern is the scope of practice and use of billing codes by music therapists. Ten states now certify, register or license music therapists. The trend is for licensure which then permits use of SLP CPT billing codes.


A major trend has emerged to eliminate occupational licensure and legislation has been introduced in 8 states and passed in Missouri. Missouri will replace licensure with 3 certifications.

This legislation is moving to get rid of licensure. In Nebraska a law was passes to review 20% of occupational registry to meet least restrictive requirements.

Colorado. Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Louisiana and Nebraska along with Missouri have been faced with this legislative effort.

Seven million dollars has been allocated for the analysis of licensure requirements to develop action plans for alternative approaches to licensing for profession certification. Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology are main targets and many states are going up to Medical Doctors licenses as well.

This initiative is at the state levels. ASHA is strongly urging state associations to be aware of the danger. This will allow treatment in our professions by less skilled individuals and will undermine our ability to collect insurance and Medicaid reimbursement.


Speech-language-hearing interstate compact (SLHIC)

Drafting team timeline:

Met in Washington, DC on May 21-22

Role of drafting team:

-Develops draft compact based on thoughts, ideas sand suggestions of the Advisory Group

-Use their own thoughts and expertise through the process

Finalize draft compact (2018-2019)

-Brief state legislators on compact

-Work with states to find sponsors, pass legislation.

Enactment (2020-2021)

-Reach threshold for enactment

-Set up compact commission to run compact



Key Components of Payment Success include:

Qualified provider

Appropriate supervision

Medical Necessity

Skilled care


Merit-Based Incentive Payment System is here! Fee-for-service reimbursement is being discontinued. This is an outcome-based reimbursement and we all need to prepare for the change.

Fraud, waste and abuse are being followed by Medicare and private insurers. This included providing more therapy visits than needed for a specific condition or providing therapy for a condition that is not deemed medically necessary.

The following is website with further information:




The time spent on service related to evaluation and treatment session are captured in the value of the CPT Code for that session.

Do not use treatment codes to capture time spent on patient/caregiver education or initial treatment recommendations.


There is no hard and fast rule regarding length of time for an untimed code–

HOWEVER, there are underlying times associated with each CPT Code, as determined by a group of your peers, (through ASHA/AMA).

You may locate this information:

CY 2018 PFS Rule Physician Time File on CMS website.


The new is not encouraging at this time even though I have no hard and fast new item.


I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland for the ASHA Connect and attended some amazing presentations on documentation, reimbursement and preparing for an audit. I would be willing to share this in a presentation to MSHA members.

I am traveling to Boston to be a part of 3 STARs presenting on Medicaid.

Committee Chair,

Carol Morse


Graduate Student Scholarship Opportunity!

The Montana State Hearing Association believes strongly in supporting graduate students who are committed to serving the people of Montana. We are pleased to offer the MSHA Memorial Scholarship award in the amount of $750 for the 2018-19 school year.  Two awards will be given. Learn more under Student  > Scholarships or access and download the application here: 2018 MSHA Scholarship Application

MSHA and Better Hearing and Speech Month

It’s May, and we are so happy the weather has finally turned around in Montana! MSHA is excited to offer a $10 reduction in membership fees beginning now and lasting until end of June in recognition of May as Better Hearing and Speech Month. Please sign up now and take advantage of the benefits of being a MSHA member as well as

  • Multiple opportunities each year to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • Discounted registration fees at Fall Convention and Summer Institute
  • Our Web Site ( with information for members, students and consumers that is frequently updated
  • A quarterly newsletter, The Communicator, covering professional activities and information needed by audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • A committee structure that monitors virtually every aspect of the professions and offers numerous opportunities for participation.
  • Bi-monthly webinars, please email if you have a speaker or topic you’d like to hear about
  • Online payment options for conferences and membership
  • Liaison with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Go to:

March Update from MSHA President

What’s Been Happening . . . . . . . . . . . ?

  • The MSHA Board has already held two meetings this year (January 20th (electronic meeting) and March 3rd (in person in Billings and electronic meeting). The newly expanded Board (17 members) has allowed MSHA to have a larger member representation at these meetings. Our next meeting will be an electronic meeting on May 5th.  I want to thank all of the MSHA Board and MSHA Members for your enthusiasm, volunteer hours, expertise and dedication to your professions.
  • As with previous face to face meetings, I am continuing to seek feedback on an Assistant Licensure Bill sponsored by MSHA during the 2019 Legislative Session.
  • The MSHA Straw Poll and Opinion Survey are supportive of MSHA moving forward with a positions paper in support of Audiology and Speech – Language Pathology Assistants. You will see the information on the MSHA website prior to the MT Board of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists receiving an update and a request for support at their next meeting on June 4th.
  • We need member comments and questions regarding the Assistant Licensure Process. Please talk to your colleagues and supervisors as more information is provided on the MSHA website.  The in-depth look at the Opinion Survey results will be posted on the website and sent out in an email blast when ready.
  • New fee schedules for exhibitors and advertising were approved and will be posted on the website.
  • At the February 21st meeting of the MT Board of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, I presented the MSHA Organization Award which was announced at the MSHA 2018 Fall Conference. The finances of the Board are stable at this time and they do not see any change to the most recent Licensure fee charge.
  • The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is awarding the Montana Speech Language & Hearing Association a $1,100 state association partial grant for our association’s assistant licensure bill project. Based on our proposal, ASHA recommends this funding be used towards travel and survey support. This grant is funded under ASHA’s Strategic Pathway to Excellence.
  • “Creating Communication Connections” is the theme and title of our MSHA Fall Conference, October 18-20 at the newly remodeled Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena.
  • The state’s regional directors now have email addresses of most current MSHA members and addresses of most licensed professionals in the state. Please contact them is you have not heard from them in the coming months.  You will find their contact information on the website.
  • MSHA is in process of updating their website.
  • Lezlie and Kathleen will attend the Council of State Association President’s Meeting in St. Louis May 17-19.
  • Congratulations to Christina Hanson for graduating from the ASHA Leadership Development program. You will hear more on her project development in coming months.
  • I recently attended an extremely helpful and educational Telepractice Webinar which was well attended and will be repeated soon by MSHA members. I want to thank Diane and Rachel for their contributions to MSHA and the clients who benefit.
  • April 26 is the deadline for submissions for the MSHA May newsletter. Please send advertising or newsletter information to

Congratulations MT Licensure Board!


October 12, 2017

Lucy Richards and the entire Montana Board of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists were instrumental prior to and during the process of passage of HB 347 (Limited Speech-Language Pathologist License). MSHA wants to thank Lucy and the Board for their commitment, professionalism and many hours of dedication. In addition MSHA members consistently attend Board Meetings and are welcomed and provide information as well as provide feedback and suggestions.  The Board has been open to communication and working with the MSHA members.

Lucy Richards and the Board have provided timely and helpful updates on the website, there is now a quarterly newsletter. FAQs appear on the website as do approved CE coursework. Questions left on the phone or via email are answered in a timely manner.

Lucy has paperwork prepared in advance for the board to perform their duties in a cost effective and timely manner.  Budgets were available and many needed revisions to rules were completed this year in part to the administrator’s organization prior to each meeting where discussion was orderly and easily understood by audience members who frequently included our members and graduate students.

The Board worked to determine a reduction in cost for initial renewal licenses. Lucy

Richards will be attending the first day of the MSHA Fall conference in Missoula and be available to answer questions at an exhibitor table.

I enthusiastically support this MSHA Organization Award for Lucy Richards and the entire Montana Board of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. We look forward to working with them in the future and during the next Montana Legislative Session in 2019.


Lezlie Pearce-Hopper, M.S., CCC-SLP

2018 President

Montana Speech Language and Hearing Association (MSHA)