Important Advocacy Updates

April 16, 2018


Starting in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will issue new Medicare identification (ID) cards. 

The new cards will replace the Social Security Number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently on the card with a unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) to protect people with Medicare from identity theft. 

They will be mailed in phases by geographic location from April 2018 through April 2019. South Carolina members are expected to receive their new Medicare cards after June 2018. However, new applicants approved for Medicare in April will be assigned the new card featuring an MBI.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2018, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will begin distributing MBI information in the place of HICN information through its current methods for inquiring Medicaid eligibility information. 

Before Oct. 1, 2018, providers should refer to the provider section of CMS' New Medicare Card website located at for guidance.

Beneficiaries will trigger the use of their MBI by presenting their new Medicare card to providers to obtain services. 

Medicare beneficiaries can go to to receive official Medicare notifications and access account information, including their MBI. 

For more information on the new Medicare card, please visit 

If you have any problems implementing the new Medicare cards, please contact the provider ombudsman at The provider ombudsman will send you information about the new Medicare cards and work inside CMS to settle any implementation problems that may arise.

Thank you for your continued support of the South Carolina Healthy Connections Medicaid program.




 April 9, 2018

If educators in your district go on strike, what’s your obligation to students?

With the recent teachers walkout/strike in West Virginia, similar efforts under way in Oklahoma and Kentucky, and a pending action in Arizona, school-based speech-language pathologists want to know what they need to do.

In responding to request for guidance, ASHA notes that school-based SLPs should be aware of two issues:

  • Their ethical responsibility to students, as noted in the “client abandonment” rule in ASHA’s Code of Ethics. Principle I, Rule T states “Individuals shall provide reasonable notice and information about alternatives for obtaining care in the event that they can no longer provide professional services.” Individual state laws or licensure board regulations may also include relevant provisions.
  • Their legal responsibility to students with disabilities under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including carrying out the provisions of students’ IEPs

If the schools close as a result of the strike, then school districts are responsible for notifying families. If schools close and students miss school, SLPs should:

  • Document their attempts to provide continuity of service, including sending homework packets or providing correspondence to parents as needed for questions regarding services.
  • Provide advance notice to families on your caseload potentially affected. This advance communication may assist with defending claims against client abandonment. (More explanation is available in ASHA’s Issues in Ethics Statement on Client Abandonment.)
  • Check with your school district’s office of special education or with the State Department of Education for specific guidance on IDEA-related issues, such as free and appropriate public education, evaluation and IEP timelines, and alternative assessments. (Read ASHA’s document on missed speech-language sessions in schoolsfor more information.)

Any SLP concerned about the legal obligations in their employment contract should consider speaking with an employment attorney to clarify their responsibilities.

Parents of students may, in the case of a prolonged strike, take legal action to receive compensatory services. If schools agree to make up the services, SLPs may be asked to work additional hours during the school day or during traditional vacation times to provide missed sessions.

For more information, contact your state speech-language-hearing association or Janet Deppe, ASHA director of state affairs, at or Jaumeiko Coleman, ASHA director of school services, at



April 3, 2018

Did you know that every nonverbal person has the right to communicate fully in communication interactions? This includes our early intervention, school-aged, and our adult populations.

A Communication Bill of Rights to address this was created by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities.

The Bill of Rights outlines fundamental rights to communication for all nonverbal individuals.

This is all inclusive and no one is exempt from these rights.

To learn more about the rights, go to: