News & Press

WSHA News, Legislative Updates, Other News, and Student Spotlight

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  • 1 May 2024 7:14 AM | Anonymous

    Lawrence D. Shriberg, Ph,D. passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 26, 2024. Dr. Shriberg had a long and meritorious career as a Professor in the UW-Madison Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and as a Research Professor at the UW-Madison Waisman Research Center. He directed the Phonology Project and co-directed the Phonology Clinic. His research focused on “the origins, assessment, and treatment of children with speech and motor speech disorders of known and unknown origin.” Across his career, Dr. Shriberg was the recipient of many awards and accolades. Most notably in 2002 ASHA recognized Dr. Shriberg with the Honors of the Association Award, ASHA’s highest award that “recognizes distinguished contribution to the field of speech, language, and hearing. Honors recipients are well known throughout the nation and the world for a lifetime of innovative clinical practice, insightful and rigorous research, creative administration, effective legislative activity, outstanding teaching, or other distinguished professional contribution.” In 2004 ASHA awarded Dr. Shriberg the Alfred K. Kawana Council of Editors Award. “The award recognizes a sustained history of exemplary publications. It is awarded to a scholar whose journal articles are meritorious in terms of educational, scientific, or clinical value … and whose contributions extended over a period of at least 10 years.” Dr. Shriberg was a kind, generous, humble person who quietly volunteered and did community service in his free time. He was highly respected and will long be remembered by so many in our field.

    *This information was condensed and adapted from the websites posted by the UW-Madison Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the UW-Madison Waisman Center.

  • 24 Apr 2024 9:12 AM | Anonymous

    The consolidation and Appropriation Act of 2024 (H.R. 4366) will reduce Medicare Part B cuts from the anticipated 3.4% to 1.7% for the remainder of 2024 for outpatient services. These cuts are part of budget neutrality that started in 2021.  WSHA members can continue to participate in take action advocacy efforts via ASHA in order to mitigate Medicare Part B cuts at CMS released the proposed Fee Schedule Rules for both skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehab facilities at the end of March and early April. Within these rules there were several changes, but most notably payments to SNFs will increase by 4.1% in FY 2025 and payments for inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) will increase 2.8% for in fiscal year 2025.

  • 15 Apr 2024 6:58 AM | Anonymous

    On behalf of the WSHA Foundation, Inc., it is my pleasure to announce the opening of the application process for the 2024-25 WSHA Foundation, Inc. Scholarships.

    Please note that all scholarship awards have been increased this year by $1,000 per scholarship! The Board of Directors of the WSHA Foundation, Inc. hopes that this announcement will encourage many students to apply for the wonderful scholarship opportunities!

    Please encourage the students in your programs to apply for the scholarships.  Information for each of the following scholarship awards can be found at: !

    Here are the specific scholarships offered to graduate students in Speech Pathology and Audiology programs within the state:

    Jack Kile Scholarship: $2,000.00

    Risa Mari Otto Scholarship: $3,000.00

    Nancy McKinley Scholarship: $2,000.00

    Friends of WSHA Scholarship: $2,500.00

    Heart of Healthcare Scholarship: $2,500.00

    Judith and David Ward Scholarship: $2,000.00

    The Vicki Lord Larson and James R. Larson Research Grant: $2,000.00

    Since founding the WSHA Foundation in 2000 we have awarded over $200,000.00 in scholarships to deserving students.  We hope you will encourage your students to take advantage of this wonderful honor and opportunity.

    If you have questions or would like to establish a scholarship or donate, please contact: Caryn Easterling at or

    Sincere best wishes, 

    Caryn Easterling, PhD
    President WSHA Foundation, Inc.

    Board of Directors
    Jodi Antinoja
    Amy Chavie
    Jenna Haberkorn
    Jamie Mayer
    Sarah Virlee Zapien

  • 8 Mar 2024 7:42 AM | Anonymous

    Senate Bill 373 was introduced to update state law following the FDA’s final rule on over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids for adults 18 years of age and older. WSHA worked with the bill authors on the technical aspect of the legislation to ensure appropriate implementation. The bill was approved by the Legislature last month and sent to the Governor for his consideration. We expect the Governor will sign the legislation.

  • 8 Mar 2024 7:42 AM | Anonymous

    Wisconsin Act 82 was published on December 7, 2023. The act requires the Hearing and Speech Examining Board to promulgate rules to implement cerumen management training and certification for hearing instrument specialists. This is required by law and will be done through the administrative rulemaking process. This is a very involved process with many distinct and important steps including approval by both the Governor’s Office and Legislature. WSHA will be involved in all stages of this process.

  • 6 Mar 2024 7:40 AM | Anonymous

    There are several vacancies on the Hearing and Speech Examining Board. Are you an Audiologist? Do you know a member of the public who may wish to serve? The Hearing and Speech Examining Board is the occupational regulatory board for Audiologists, Speech Language Pathologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists.The members of the Hearing and Speech Examining Board are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature to serve 4-year terms. The Board consists of three hearing instrument specialist members, one otolaryngologist member, two audiologist members, two speech-language pathologist members, and two public members one of which is required to be a hearing aid user.

    If you are interested in serving please let us know and we can walk you through the process. Please contact us at

  • 1 Mar 2024 7:43 AM | Anonymous

    Our Medicaid Committee is prioritizing work to address barriers encountered in the Medicaid prior authorization process. Our committee meets regularly with the Department of Health Services on matters specific to speech and hearing, in addition to quarterly meetings with the Department of Health Services and other therapy associations. In February our Medicaid Committee presented two major areas of concern 1) extensive information required when a Medicaid-covered individual is simultaneously receiving ABA and speech/language services and 2) extensive information required for adjudication of AAC/SGD services that often does not reflect best practice in this specialty area. 

    WSHA provided supporting documentation that speech/language and ABA services are not duplicative. ABA services should not be interpreted as a substitute for the skills warranted by a speech/language pathologist, i.e. clinical training/competencies in evaluation and treatment of communicative and feeding/swallowing disorders, in the provision of services for this neurodiverse population. In the future the ABA plan of care will not be required with submission of speech/language Medicaid prior authorization requests when the SLP attests that contact has been made/collaboration with ABA provider has occurred. SLP must document date, method, and outcome of attempts to obtain the ABA plan of care and collaboration efforts with the behavior management provider in Section IV – items #16 and #17 of PA/TA. Treatment should not be delayed because of unsuccessful attempts to obtain the ABA plan of care.  

    WSHA’s review of returned PAs indicates clinical treatment for severely involved users of AAC/SGDs has been limited and restricted by reviewers’ requirements which do not reflect best practice. WSHA

    emphasized the number of providers and clinics offering AAC/SGD specialty services continues to shrink for the Medicaid population. Low reimbursement and extensive and inappropriate information required for adjudication of AAC/SGD services will continue to put pressure on the already limited number of providers and clinics. DHS acknowledged training with reviewers is ongoing. Reportedly reviewers have been advised to pose less and more precise questions when prior authorization (PA)s are returned for information and when information is not provided in the original submission, however some type of objective data is needed to determine improvement. Reports of functional progress provided by caregivers or communicative partners, advancement on developmental stage of language acquisition, increased pragmatic use of language, and/or objective data can be used to document progress. Remarks made by reviewers indicating evaluation for AAC/SGDs can readily be obtained through a vendor promoting such devices versus a SLP with expertise in this specialty area were refuted. Training required for comprehensive assessment such as matching features to needs and skills of communicator, assessing use of AAC in various settings, providing language development training for immediate and long-term needs, was highlighted as medically necessary. 

    If you are a Medicaid provider and have questions, concerns, or experience to share please reach out to our committee at

  • 27 Nov 2023 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    We are reaching out to provide an update on Senate Bill 419 relating to cerumen management by hearing instrument specialists. The legislation circulated in late August. The WSHA board was notified, reviewed, and deliberated the proposal. That included outreach to both ASHA and AAA, and legislative sponsors.

    The bill will allow a hearing instrument specialist to engage in cerumen management if a hearing instrument specialist completes courses in cerumen management identified and approved by the Hearing and Speech Examining Board, including a final examination. The bill directs the Hearing and Speech Examining Board to promulgate rules to implement the cerumen management certification, including rules to define the scope of cerumen management and to establish proper infection control practices. 

    Legislators across the country, including here in Wisconsin, are looking to address access to care issues and provider shortages by advancing legislation that allows providers to practice at “the top of their scope,” expand scope of practice, and even create new mid-level providers. We see similar proposals affecting physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, nurse practitioners, and more. We know these cannot be the only solutions and we recognize the scope creep in Senate Bill 419. That said, proposals similar to Senate Bill 419 have moved quickly in other states. After much discussion the WSHA Board opted to communicate the importance of adequate training, education, and oversight by the Hearing and Speech Examining Board, which was maintained in the bill.

    It is incumbent upon us as professionals, and members of WSHA, to educate patients and consumers about the important differences between hearing instrument specialists and audiologists. 

    We did hear from several AuD members that disagreed with WSHA’s decision.  We understand their concern and appreciate the open dialogue. WSHA intends to be engaged in the rule making process and will work closely with our AuD members at that stage. We will express our concerns about consumer safety and will stress the importance of proper training and oversight from the Hearing and Speech Examining Board.  

  • 2 Nov 2023 10:33 AM | Anonymous

    Connecting Wisconsin families with special health care needs to essential support and resources

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today launched a new service that will transform the support structure for families of children with delays, disabilities, special health care needs, or mental health conditions. Wisconsin Wayfinder: Children’s Resource Network includes a user-friendly website and toll-free helpline that lets families easily connect with real people – dedicated children’s resource guides – who will help navigate through the essential services and supports that will enable their children to thrive.

    “This service is a critical step toward improving the way families with special health care needs access and connect with the vital resources they need, especially during crucial moments like after an initial diagnosis,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge. “Our children’s resource guides are people committed to personally assisting families on this journey. Wisconsin Wayfinder embodies our commitment to inclusivity, support, and accessibility for our state’s children and their families.”

    A statewide, user-friendly website,, and toll-free number, 877-WiscWay (877-947-2929), provide families with convenient, direct access to compassionate and knowledgeable children’s resource guides.

    View the entire news release

  • 12 Sep 2023 6:38 AM | Anonymous

    State of Wisconsin sent this bulletin at 08/31/2023 01:43 PM CDT

    MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today, together with the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), announced new efforts to continue improving professional license processes at the state’s lead credentialing and licensing agency. The move builds upon the Evers Administration’s previous work to improve licensing efficiency at the department through limited-term and project positions, reorganizing, and contracting staff to support the department’s call center, among other critical efforts.

    Among the new efforts Gov. Evers and DSPS announced today includes a new public-facing licensing dashboard designed to help improve transparency around licensing processes and department processing capacity. The licensing transparency dashboard is a continuation of Gov. Evers’ and the Evers Administration’s ongoing work to improve and modernize state services for the 21st century. Data available on the new dashboard announced today lends credence to the Evers Administration’s continued push for additional flexibility and staffing support for DSPS—the data provide an illustrative example of how additional resource and staffing support directed by Gov. Evers has helped enable DSPS to make substantial progress toward improving licensing times even with continued high demand on the agency’s limited available staff and resources.

    “I’m proud of our administration’s ongoing efforts to ensure state government works for everyone, including modernizing outdated processes and systems, reducing barriers, and improving efficiency so Wisconsinites across our state can get help and access critical services when they need it most,” said Gov. Evers.

    The Evers Administration’s new dashboard offers real-time information on state application timelines and capacity. The dashboard, part of Gov. Evers’ and the Evers Administration’s work to modernize state government services for the 21st century, builds upon the administration’s new online licensing platform launched last year, LicensE, to maximize efficiency in the credentialing process and reduces barriers and obstacles to applicants while prioritizing public safety and consumer protection.

    The licensing dashboard highlights the average number of days it is currently taking DSPS to review new application submissions, including any additional documentation sent by applicants or third-party education institutions, employers, testing centers, and others. Dashboard data, now available for public viewing, illustrates heavy demand and significant progress that has been made at the state department responsible for occupational licensing. For example, to date, in 2023, Wisconsin has issued nearly 200% more licenses than it did in the same period in 2018. DSPS is currently handling documentation within three to five calendar days, meaning once an applicant satisfies all legal requirements, they should have their license in hand in less than a week.

    “We’re very proud of the work our staff has done to modernize our systems and improve the experience for those applying for an occupational license in Wisconsin,” DSPS Secretary Dan Hereth said of the dashboard data. “We’re excited to provide applicants meaningful information to help them plan for and drive their application process. I’m also very pleased, although not at all surprised, that the data shows the efficiencies we’ve put in place over the past year are paying dividends for Wisconsin and our professional license applicants.”

    The department’s workload has grown even in the face of the Legislature’s refusal to authorize more requested staffing support through the biennial budget process. Over the course of his two first biennial budgets, Gov. Evers requested more than two dozen new full-time positions for DSPS, which began this year with even fewer authorized positions than when the agency was created more than a decade ago, to help ensure the department could meet its ever-increasing workload that has long exceeded available staff and resource capacity. Unlike most state agencies, which are funded primarily by taxpayer dollars, DSPS is funded almost exclusively by revenue generated through its own permits and professional license fees—revenue the department cannot use to hire more staff support or make technological improvements without approval by the Wisconsin State Legislature.

    Gov. Evers, through the availability of federal emergency relief funds, has made substantial investments to enhance operations at DSPS in recent years. In addition to funding the accelerated development and rollout of LicensE, the state’s new cloud-based license application platform, emergency funding also allowed the department to contract with a staffing agency to quadruple the size of its call center and to aggressively expand its credentialing team.

    Given the significant progress DSPS has made toward modernizing the licensing process and improving licensure processing times and the Legislature’s disappointing failure to secure the continuation of the department’s federally funded efforts on a permanent ongoing basis, Gov. Evers announced today that he is committing the necessary support through federal pandemic relief funds to continue the department’s enhanced staffing levels through 2024 when federal funds expire at the end of the year.

    “Critical investments we’ve made have helped enable DSPS to significantly improve license processing and response times,” said Gov. Evers. “These results clearly show that if we want the important work improving the licensing process and these positive outcomes to continue, the Legislature must give the department the staffing and resource capacity that everyone knows they need.”

    “So, while I’m committing the necessary federal funds to allow DSPS to retain their current staffing levels through next year, I'm also calling on the Legislature to do its part by ensuring the department can maintain the necessary staff to be successful. Failing to approve this critical request will be detrimental to the improvements DSPS has already worked to make while jeopardizing efforts to build upon this progress in the future,” Gov. Evers concluded.

    The federal pandemic relief funds directed by Gov. Evers will ensure the department can retain the current staffing levels that have helped enable significant improvements to licensing processing times. However, because the federal funds directed by the governor cannot be extended past the end of calendar year 2024, DSPS will need approval and authorization from the Wisconsin State Legislature to keep its staffing capacity at current levels.

    To that end, Gov. Evers also announced today he is officially requesting that the Wisconsin State Legislature authorize the department to retain its current staffing levels to help ensure the department’s progress is not affected by a change or lapse in the resources the new data released today clearly demonstrates is necessary to meet the department’s current workload and maximize efficiency. The request will allow the department to maintain critical staffing levels once federal emergency funding expires.

    Because the recent staffing additions approved by the Legislature through the biennial budget process did not meet the level of investment requested by Gov. Evers, DSPS will actually have fewer credentialing employees when federal emergency funding runs out than it does today.

    If the Legislature rejects the governor’s request for sustainable, ongoing staffing support at DSPS, the decision will have serious negative impacts on the progress DSPS has already made to improve licensing and processing times, even potentially causing those improvements to backslide and regress, substantially affecting Wisconsin’s licensed and credentialed workforce.

    A copy of the Evers Administration’s supplemental staffing request, pursuant to Wis. Stat. 16.515, submitted to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance is available here.

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