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Sarah James, director of therapies at OZH, joins ASHA's Medicaid Committee


Sarah James, director of therapies at Ozarks Healthcare, has been appointed to join the Medicaid Committee of the American Speech-Hearing Language Association (ASHA).

ASHA's Medicaid Committee is described by OZH officials as a “crucial board comprised of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists from across the nation, with the primary aim of enhancing coverage and payment for audiology and SLP services.”

As a member of the committee, James will play a role in engaging with regulators and key decision-makers, including public (Medicare and Medicaid) and private payers, to advocate for payment and coverage policies that accurately reflect the value and full scope of audiology and speech-language pathology services.

James brings extensive experience in the field, particularly in navigating the evolving landscape of Medicaid coverage. She has witnessed the significant changes in Medicaid in Missouri, particularly with the introduction of managed Medicaid plans. These changes have resulted in reimbursement rates that often fall short of covering the costs for providers, putting access to care for patients at risk, explain Ozarks Healthcare officials.

In the face of these challenges, providers like audiologists and SLPs are compelled to make operational adjustments to ensure survival, officials continue, citing recent statistics showing that 19% have reduced the number of clinical staff, 21% have decreased clinical staff hours and 30% have taken on additional employment to mitigate financial strains, circumstance which “pose a significant threat to facilities' ability to continue offering essential services to Medicaid patients.”

“I'm excited to have the opportunity to be an advocate for our patients and to help get them the services that they need and deserve,” James said. 

Through her involvement in ASHA's Medicaid Committee, officials conclude, James aims to address these pressing issues and work towards securing equitable coverage and payment policies.