The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), along with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), have earned an ASAE Power of A Silver Award—reportedly the association industry’s highest honor.

Both were recognized for their efforts to advocate with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and federal agencies to make changes to the Affordable Care Act’s summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) document, notes a media release from the AOTA.

The groups advocated successfully for the SBC template to maintain separate and distinct rows for rehabilitation services and habilitation services, and that they should not be combined; for health plans to list any limitations to occupational, physical, and speech therapy, and if there is a quantifiable limit, to specify that information; and for the definition for “medically necessary” in the Uniform Glossary of Medical Terms to specifically mention habilitation.

“This award recognizes the ongoing collaborative commitment of AOTA and ASHA to improve consumer access to quality occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech, language, and hearing services,” says Frederick P. Somers, chief executive officer for AOTA.

“Through AOTA and ASHA’s cooperative work on this project, 180 million Americans will have access to clear information about the level and scope of coverage for habilitative and rehabilitative benefits under the different health insurance plans available to them,” states Arlene A. Pietranton, PhD, CAE, chief executive officer of ASHA. “This information will allow consumers to select their insurance coverage in an informed way—a big boost to transparency in the often-complex process of choosing a health plan. It also will allow those with existing health insurance to better understand their coverage for habilitative care.”

“Congratulations to AOTA and ASHA for their efforts to enrich and strengthen lives,” adds Sharon J. Swan, FASAE, CAE, chief executive officer of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Chair of the Power of A Awards Judging Committee, in the release. “Their initiative exemplifies how we work best when we work together and how associations have a positive influence on our everyday lives in every way.”

[Source: American Occupational Therapy Association]