Tell ASHA to Support Working SLPs, SLPAs and CFs

Tell ASHA to Support Working SLPs, SLPAs and CFs

September 15, 2022
Signatures: 1,429Next Goal: 1,500
Support now

Why this petition matters

Started by Speech Pathologist

We, the following signed Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPAs) and Clinical Fellows (CFs), formally call on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to create and implement statutes and regulations to better protect the working members of its organization. 

Throughout the last several years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, working SLPs, SLPAs and CFs have faced egregious working conditions, requiring us to choose between ethical behavior, our patients'/students'/clients' well being or our employment. While ASHA has set guidelines for ethical behavior, it lacks substance in supporting its members for enforcing those ethical principals within the work place. 

It is well documented and acknowledged both within the American healthcare system and ASHA itself, that SLPs, SLPAs and CFs are facing a mental health crisis and severe burnout. Staffing shortages and Medicare cuts often leave SLPs, SLPAs and CFs at odds with employers, who are pushing for higher caseloads/productivity and reduction in pay, all while decreasing available resources. The national situation has become unsustainable and unacceptable.

As paying members of ASHA, who finance the elected board and organization, we request that ASHA do more than simply acknowledge the plight of its members. Instead, we demand that ASHA will implement an action plan addressing the following concerns:

1. Create realistic and ethical standards for productivity and ways to measure productivity for skilled nursing and Healthcare SLPs both in inpatient and outpatient settings.

2. Determine appropriate caseload sizes for school based SLPs and SLPAs.

3. While considering productivity, outline ethical and appropriate down time percentages for prep time for therapy and non-billable time so this can be built into our job descriptions instead of being forced to clock out between patients.

4. Allocate more resources towards promoting Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement.

5. Set guidelines for compensation for all work related items, including Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs), which are often scheduled outside of contracted work hours.

6. Define the number of credits our degree is worth for school based SLPs and update guidelines for lane placements. 

While ASHA mental health resources have been appreciated and helpful, they fall woefully short of providing the support needed to decrease the mental health burden and burn-out of many of us struggling in this field. Simply providing resources to aid these issues is no longer acceptable. We need ASHA to find unique ways to protect SLPs, SLPAs and CFs from rampant abuse in many healthcare, schools and private settings. Many SLPs, SLPAs and CFs regularly experience unethical demands and and decreased salaries or resources from their employer. 

In the past, ASHA has cited statements regarding the complex nature of solving some of these issues and the difficulties in determining fair standards across populations and work environments; however, it is time to address these unique needs with creative solutions. It is painfully obvious that SLPs, SLPAs and CFs have very few options to self-advocate without jeopardizing their employment or facing retaliation. Without standards in place and the ability to enforce these much-needed standards, our career faces a dire future including: reduced salaries, continued abuse, further privatization of therapy and inability to protect and promote the health of ASHA. members and patients/clients/students.

We request ASHA issue a preliminary reply to our petition within 90 days of receipt in order to begin moving forward in implementing the necessary changes in our field.  

We eagerly await the Board of Directors' official reply. 


Support now
Signatures: 1,429Next Goal: 1,500
Support now