BY: Alison Lemke
Welcome to the summer issue of the National Council of State Boards of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology’s newsletter. NCSB is the go-to organization for networking and training about issues related to professional licensure in SLP and audiology. We hope you will take advantage of the opportunities that our organization offers to strengthen your knowledge base and enhance the capabilities of your state licensure board. Among the past goals of the organization are:
- To facilitate communication and interaction among state boards
- To promote the protection of consumers
- To stimulate interest in and discussion of issues pertaining to licensure boards
- To provide a forum for discussion
- To assist licensing boards in fulfilling statutory, professional, and ethical obligations
- To promote uniform standards for licensure
As some of you will recall from the conference last year, NCSB is undertaking yet another task-that of involvement in the formation of licensure compacts. Working closely with ASHA and other national partners, NCSB hopes to increase its visibility and at the same time expand provision of services by entering into licensure compacts aimed at facilitating practice across borders. A compact has been formed within NCSB, and individuals have been asked to participate in that endeavor. Additionally, a licensure compact is being developed at the national level, and meetings to discuss that project are in the planning stages.
The annual NCSB conference is right around the corner--September 14-16 in New Orleans. If your board is not currently sending at least one member to the conference, you should consider doing so this year. State licensure, and more specifically licensure compacts, is a hot topic right now due to numerous efforts around the country to eliminate or consolidate boards, including boards that ensure consumer safety regarding our services. This will be the topic of one of our conference sessions.
The NCSB conference is a terrific place to learn more about what boards can do to effectively fulfill their duty to protect consumers. The conference includes sessions on the ethics of social media and state regulations related to CF supervision. These topics, coupled with discussions regarding investigations and the sharing of information among attendees, should provide participants with important information that can be shared with their individual state boards. A complete synopsis of all conference sessions and topics can be found elsewhere in this publication.
Finally, what place could be more fun than New Orleans to meet colleagues from around the country who are involved in SLP and audiology licensure? Louisiana’s outstanding regional cuisine and the sights of this intriguing city will make your conference trip memorable. A number of exciting conference activities have been planned under the direction of the Program Chair, Vickie Pullins. Come to the Big Easy and laisseez les bon temps rouler. I am looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans!
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
PRESIDENTS CORNER - See above
NCSB TO PRESENT POSTER SESSION AT ASHA - See Below
NCSB’s 30th ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Reporting Adverse Actions to the NPDB
SPOTLIGHT ON THE TEXAS BOARD OF EXAMINERS
JOIN NCSB ON FACEBOOK
NCSB Board of Directors
NCSB TO PRESENT POSTER SESSION AT ASHA
Please view the NCSB poster during the ASHA Convention. Plan to attend and share your licensure experiences with others who have an interest in licensure. The poster will include demographic data on a number of topics, including continuing education, hearing aid dispensing, telepractice, universal licensure, support personnel, and others. Handouts will be provided, as will a listing of web addresses for audiology and speech-language pathology boards.
“Professional Licensure: Prerequisite for Portability and Public Protection”
Session Number 7636, Poster Board 162
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Location: Hall A, Los Angeles Convention Center
Hope to see you in the Convention Center in Los Angeles.
NCSB’s 30th ANNUAL CONFERENCE
September 14-16, 2017, New Orleans
Registration brochures announcing the 30th annual NCSB Conference have been mailed. If you or your state board did not receive one of the brochures, a registration form and hotel information are included in this newsletter. As in past years, a pre-conference workshop on Training for Board Members will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2017, and the one and one-half day conference will follow on September 15 and 16. NCSB invites boards to participate in both the board training and the conference. Following is a synopsis of the pre-conference workshop and the conference.
View the schedule
Doubletree by Hilton
300 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA. 70130
The 2017 NCSB Workshop and Conference will be held Thursday-Saturday, September 14-16, 2017. Please note that the conference is being held in September this year rather than October as has been its practice in the past. The meeting will be at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in New Orleans, 300 Canal Street.
Group room rates are $119 for single/double, $129 for triple, and $139 for quad (not including taxes.) Online reservations opened October 10, 2016, and the cut-off date for conference rates is August 16, 2017. A reservation option is to book your room online as part of the group block.
Group Website: https://aws.passkey.com/go/NCSB 2017
Group Code: NCS
Reservations can also be made by calling the toll-free number 1-800-HILTONS.
Parking is valet only, and the hotel has offered special rates for NCSB attendees.
Overnight valet parking is $28.00 per night, exclusive of sales tax, while event parking is $12.00 per car.
Transportation from New Orleans International Airport—Distance from hotel is approximately 13 miles (23 minutes). A taxi or Uber is estimated at $33, while the Super Shuttle is $23.
The Double Tree by Hilton Hotel New Orleans is located in downtown New Orleans at 300 Canal Street. The French Quarter is within walking distance, as is Harrah’s Casino and the Audubon Aquarium. At the hotel, you can have a quick cup of coffee and enjoy complimentary WiFi in PJ’s Coffee or visit the WOW Café offering all day dining and a full-service bar. At Pinkberry’s you can enjoy yogurt with more than 30 toppings.
Relax in one of the stylish guest rooms, many of which offer views of the French Quarter, Canal Street, or the Mississippi River. Rooms are equipped with a large desk, and in-room WiFi is available. Experience the true taste of Double Tree Hotels when you check in and receive a signature warm chocolate chip cookie.
NCSB has been involved in the development of licensure compacts designed to facilitate practice across borders. A working group has been formed within NCSB, and plans are also underway to construct a similar committee that will include a representative from NCSB as well as individuals from professional associations. Kerri Phillips is spearheading the NCSB efforts and is also assisting in the facilitation of the national working group. Following is her report on the progress made thus far. Further updates will be provided during the NCSB Conference in New Orleans.
NCSB: State Compacts Update
The NCSB Task Force has met and is currently working on a draft compact. Ayn Stehr, Task Force Chair, drafted the initial document and presented it to committee members. Committee members have reviewed the document, and discussions are on-going with the draft compact. The draft compact is designed as a starting point for the discussion of a compact in our professions. The draft compact will be shared with the NCSB Board of Directors and the membership for additional input upon completion. Remember that this is a process that will take time (years) to develop and finalize.
Things are moving quickly with the Council of State Government (CSG) Advisory Committee. The invitations have been sent to the potential members of the CSG Advisory Committee. Daniel Logsdon, CSG, Kerri Phillips, NCSB, and Susan Adams, ASHA have held several phone conferences regarding meeting dates for the initial Advisory Committee meeting. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for either the first or second week of October.
With the first meeting of the CSG Advisory Committee approaching in October, you are encouraged to attend the NCSB conference in New Orleans, September 14-16, 2017, and join in the conversation. CSG, NCSB, and ASHA will discuss the ongoing process of interstate compacts.
The National Practitioner Data Bank plays an important role in the regulation of our professions, and since all states now have licensure or registration, it is critical that state boards be kept informed of the functions of the NPDB. NCSB is fortunate to receive periodic updates from Don Illich, Policy Analyst with the NPDB and HRSA. Following is his latest report that provides background on the data bank and also summarizes the actions of speech-language pathologists and audiologists and their inclusion in the data bank.
Reporting Adverse Actions to the NPDB
by Donald Illich and Jiaying Hua
The NPDB is a confidential information clearinghouse created by Congress with the primary goals of improving health care quality, protecting the public, and reducing health care fraud and abuse in the United States. Acting primarily as a national flagging system, the NPDB provides information that permits authorized queriers to perform comprehensive reviews of the credentials of health care practitioners, providers, and suppliers.
The NPDB collects information on medical malpractice payments and certain adverse actions and discloses that information to eligible entities. These payments and actions are required to be reported to the NPDB under Title IV of Public Law 99-660, the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (Title IV); Section 1921 of the Social Security Act (Section 1921); Section 1128E of the Social Security Act (Section 1128E); and their implementing regulations found at 45 CFR Part 60.
Entities that are required to report to the NPDB include medical malpractice payers, hospitals and other health care entities, professional societies, health plans, peer review organizations, private accreditation organizations, Federal Government agencies, State law enforcement agencies, State Medicaid fraud control units, State agencies administering or supervising the administration of State health care programs, and State licensing and certification authorities. The information required to be reported to the NPDB concerns health care practitioners, providers, and suppliers.
The NPDB is meant to be used as one of many tools available to health care entities of various types as they make licensing, certification, hiring, credentialing, contracting, and similar decisions. The NPDB can provide valuable background information for Boards of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology to use in conjunction with other resources when making licensing and certification decisions.
The Value of NPDB Reports
Querying the NPDB for information on speech-language pathologists and audiologists allows for informed decision-making. Reports are used in conjunction with other information provided by applicants and licensees to create complete pictures of their professional histories. Frequently, boards will ask an applicant with an NPDB report to provide additional information on an incident, but will rarely base the entire decision to make licensure/certification decisions on one report alone. This holds true across the different types of entities and reports that are used to assess competence and conduct, according to the results of a 2014 user survey.
Boards increase the value of the data in the NPDB by reporting certain adverse actions outlined in NPDB regulations. If all legally required actions are reported, it is more likely that entities can identify unprofessional and/or incompetent practitioners before they are licensed or granted privileges. Reporting licensure actions adds to the completeness of NPDB information, which increases the value of the NPDB for boards and other queriers who rely on this information. Without reports, queriers might get an incomplete picture of a practitioner’s record.
Boards of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology must report to the NPDB certain actions taken against speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists. They must be the result of formal proceedings. ations that must be reported by these Boards include:
- Any adverse action taken by a board as a result of a formal proceeding, including: revocation or suspension of a license; reprimand; censure; or probation.
- Any dismissal or closure of a formal proceeding because the audiologist/SLP surrendered the license because the subject of the proceeding left the State or jurisdiction.
- Any other loss of license or the right to apply for, or renew, a license by an audiologist/SLP, whether by operation of law, voluntary surrender, nonrenewal (excluding nonrenewals due to nonpayment of fees, retirement, or change to inactive status), or otherwise.
- Any negative action or finding by the board that, under the State's law, is publicly available information, including, but not limited to, limitations on the scope of practice, liquidations, injunctions, and forfeitures. This definition also includes final adverse actions rendered by a board - such as exclusions, revocations, or suspension of license - that occur in conjunction with settlements in which no finding of liability has been made (although such a settlement itself is not reportable). This definition excludes administrative fines or citations and corrective action plans and other personnel actions, unless: the underlying activity is connected to the delivery of health care services, or the action is taken in conjunction with other adverse licensure actions, such as revocation, suspension, censure, reprimand, probation, or surrender.
When a license is suspended, the length of the suspension must also be reported. Boards must report any revisions to a previously reported licensing action, such as a reinstatement of a suspended license, and whether an action is on appeal.
Querying and reporting are both supported by the NPDB’s compliance work. To further its mission of improving the quality of health care, and reducing fraud and abuse, the NPDB operates a compliance effort to improve the completeness and accuracy of data reported to the NPDB. All state licensing and certification boards, including Boards of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, must complete an attestation process every two years as part of renewing their NPDB registration. There are two parts to this process: Attest that they have submitted all reportable actions under federal law to the NPDB for the professions they regulate; Review, verify, and update the roster of professions they currently regulate.
The NPDB recently released the results of its latest compliance review on July 1, 2017. This review examined state licensing and certification board adverse actions taken between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015 for 13 states. In addition, the initiative also included the following U.S. Territories: American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The review compares adverse actions taken by state licensing and certification boards to the reports the boards submit to the NPDB, with the purpose of ensuring that all actions that must be reported according to federal law have been correctly reported to the NPDB. It includes professions that are queried most often by organizations registered with the NPDB, plus a random sampling of other professions. The NPDB continues to work with state boards that need assistance with meeting federal reporting requirements.
The NPDB has always shared the results of its reviews organized by state and by profession, but now offers a compliance map infographic that combines states and professions, showing on the U.S. map what states and territories were reviewed. Only the boards and professions listed were part of the compliance review and received a status of "compliant,” “non-compliant,” or “working toward compliance.” A state's overall compliance status is not reflected in this infograph. For full compliance results, visit Reporting Compliance Status by State. You can also view the compliance status for audiologists and speech-language pathologists.
Reports in the Data Bank
As of December 31, 2016, the NPDB contained 1,294,192 reports filed on 690,191 individual practitioners of all types. Fifty-two percent of those reports are licensure actions, 33% are malpractice payment reports, and 8% are Medicare and Medicaid exclusion reports. The remaining reports include clinical privileges or panel membership, health plan actions, professional society membership, Drug Enforcement Administration actions, government administrative actions, and judgments or convictions.
Boards may take a variety of licensure actions against audiologists and SLPs; such as restrictions, suspensions, and voluntary surrenders. The majority of NPDB reports on audiologists and SLPs are based on licensure actions. The above table represents some of the more frequent types of reports made on speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
For More Information
For additional information, visit the NPDB Web site at www.npdb.hrsa.gov. For technical questions related to billing, registration, and submitting a report, contact the Customer Service Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-767-6732.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE TEXAS BOARD OF EXAMINERS
NCSB is interested in what other state licensure boards are doing with respect to membership, legislation, and unique successes and challenges. As such, the newsletter will spotlight one or more boards in each edition. Vickie Pullins contacted the Texas Board, and following are their responses.
- three audiologist members;
- three speech-language pathologist members; and
- three members who represent the public. (One public member must be a physician licensed in this state and certified in otolaryngology or pediatrics.
Advisory board members must:
- have been a resident of this state for the two years preceding the date of appointment;
- be from the various geographic regions of the state; and
- be from varying employment settings.
The advisory board members who are audiologists or speech-language pathologists must:
- have been engaged in teaching, research, or providing services in speech-language pathology or audiology for at least five years;
- and be licensed under this chapter
Current board members:
- Public Member: Emanuel Bodner, Houston, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2021.
- Public Member: Elizabeth Sterling, Austin, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2019.
- Public Member - Physician: Tammy Camp, Shallowater, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2017.
- Audiologist: Kimberly Ringer, Pflugerville, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2017.
- Audiologist: Cristen Plummer, Round Rock, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2019.
- Audiologist: Michelle Tejada, San Antonio, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2021.
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Patricia Brannon, San Antonio, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2017.
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Cheval Bryant, Sugar Land, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2019.
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Sherry Sancibrian (Presiding Officer), Lubbock, Texas. Term expires 9/1/2021.
- Where is your board office located?
The board office is in the headquarters of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation in Austin.
- Are board members appointed or elected and by whom?
Board members are appointed by the presiding officer of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, with approval from the full commission.
- Who provides your legal counsel?
At least two attorneys attend all board meetings and are available to assist with legal matters. One attorney is on the Executive Staff of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and handles issues related to compliance with open meetings and open records requirements, legislative matters, and appointments to the board. A second staff attorney works in the Enforcement Division and advises on complaints and assists with projects such as our current efforts to develop a penalty matrix.
- How long has your board been a member of NCSB?
I’m not sure, but I know that I first heard about NCSB from Gene Powers, who was the Chair of the Texas board and was quite active with NCSB in the early 1990’s.
- Have you had any recent threats to licensure in Texas?
House Bill 1684 in the 2017 session proposed to eliminate licensure requirements for speech-language pathologists and audiologists but was quickly withdrawn after an overwhelming response from licensees. And legislation in the previous session relocated our board from the Department of State Health to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which didn’t threaten the existence of licensure but significantly affected how we do business. Hear the rest of the story at the NCSB conference in New Orleans!
History with NCSB
- Texas has hosted the NCSB Annual Conference 3 times:
- 1995: Austin; Licensure Boards: Vision and Directions
- 2007: San Antonio; Rollin’ on the River: Response to Regulatory Issues
- 2013: San Antonio; Prickly Issues in Licensure and Regulation
- Sherry Sancibrian (Texas board chair 2001-2005 and 2015-2021) served on the NCSB board
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