News & Press

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

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  • 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.

  • 26 Jun 2023 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    If you haven't already done so, please renew or join WSHA for the membership year that begins on July 1st! WSHA is honored to be able to continue supporting speech-language and audiology professionals by offering an early bird discount for members who join or renew by October 31, 2023. With this discount, regular members pay only $99 for WSHA membership! 

    We’re also pleased to extend an additional year of complimentary membership to our Recent Graduates. This means all early career professionals in their first year following graduation receive all the benefits of WSHA membership at no charge. Recent Graduates in their second- or third-year following graduation can take advantage of the reduced member rate of $75. If you’re new to WSHA, register via the WSHA website and indicate you are a Recent Graduate. 

    Log into the WSHA website to receive the discounted rate. If you haven’t been a member of WSHA in the past, don’t wait JOIN TODAY!!   Visit or email (not .com) for more information. We’re here to help! 

  • 26 Jun 2023 12:30 PM | Anonymous

    In follow up to the release of the School-Based Services (SBS) Comprehensive Guide to Medicaid Services and Administrative Claiming in May 2023, HHS's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the SBS Technical Assistance (TA) Center. This center will continue to be developed in conjunction with the Department of Education (ED). It will:

    • Support State Medicaid agencies, local education agencies (LEAs), and school-based entities seeking to expand their capacity for providing Medicaid SBS
    • Reduce administrative burden
    • Support such entities in obtaining payment for the rendering of Medicaid SBS
    • Ensure ongoing coordination and collaboration between ED and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding Medicaid SBS
    • Provide guidance with regard to utilization of various funding sources.

    CMS encourages stakeholders to use the TA Center to assist in implementing the flexibilities and requirements discussed in the SBS Guide and further enhancing or expanding their current SBS programs. The Center will continue to add resources and materials to support States and schools in implementing Medicaid SBS.

    The TAC will continue to be updated with additional resources over the coming months. Future resources will include more in depth guidance on various aspects of billing for school-based Medicaid for both state Medicaid agencies, state education agencies, local education agencies, and schools. CMS welcomes input on what future content should be developed for the TAC. Please email any TAC suggestions to the SBS mailbox at

    Visit the TA Center to learn more.

  • 30 Jan 2023 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Are you a professional working with families of children with special needs? If so, we want to hear from you! The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) wants to learn how you get and share information and resources with the families you work with. Your responses will help us improve the information and resources provided to professionals like you to support families in finding their right next step. It will also help us develop marketing strategies to better reach you.

    Please take the survey by February 6. This survey should take about 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey is available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.

    In addition, please share this email with other professionals who work with children with special needs, and encourage them to take the survey andsignup for email subscriptions.

    Who are children with special needs?

    Children with special needs have physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and require health and related services beyond what’s typically required by children.

    Who should take the survey?

    Take our survey if you work in any capacity with children with special needs. Medical and mental health providers, faith-based organizations, individuals working in education, advocates, child care providers, and others working with children with special needs are encouraged to take the survey. We want to hear from you!

    Take the survey now

    About this work

    This work is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. To learn more about this and other ARPA projects, visit our website!

  • 18 Jan 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The latest edition of the ForwardHealth Update is available here.

  • 17 Jan 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    DHS Seeks Applicants for State Long-Term Care Advisory Councils
    Deadline to Apply: February 3

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is seeking qualified applicants to fill vacancies on two state long-term care advisory councils. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 3, 2023. Information regarding both opportunities is below.

    Long-Term Care Advisory Council (LTCAC)

    The LTCAC serves as an advisory body to DHS on existing and emerging aging, disability, and long-term care systems issues. Members provide advice and make recommendations to the DHS Secretary regarding long-term care policy, programs, and services. Learn more about LTCAC.

    IRIS Advisory Committee (IAC)

    The IAC is a workgroup established to provide recommendations to the DHS program staff on issues related to administration of the IRIS program. IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) is a self-directed program for adults with disabilities and elderly people. IAC members are individuals who have relevant knowledge, experience, expertise, and community relationships that allow them to present ideas, opinions, or facts for the betterment of the IRIS program. Learn more about the IAC.

    How to Apply

    Applications of interest to serve on these two councils can be found on the DHS website:

    If you would like to request a paper application or need an accommodation or assistance with completing your application, please contact DHS Long-Term Care at 608-267-7286 or Please include the name of the council to which you are applying.

  • 9 Sep 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to the exceptional students who are the 2022 Recipients of the WSHA Foundation, Inc. Scholarships!

    The WSHA Foundation, Inc. Board received a record number of applicants for scholarships and are proud to offer the following students some public recognition for their accomplishments and for receiving these awards!

    Please acknowledge the accomplishments of these students to the faculty and students in your programs!

    We look forward to seeing all that they accomplish in their field of study and practice!

    The Judith H. and David J. Ward Scholarship - $1,000
    Joyce Dong, Marquette University

    Nancy McKinley Scholarship - $1,000
    Mia Angione, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Friends of WSHA Foundation Scholarship - $1,500
    Breanna Wolter, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

    Heart of Healthcare Scholarship - $1,500
    Julia Mordarski, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Jack Kile Scholarship - $1,000
    Athara Ibrahim, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

    Finally, the Otto Family chose to award three scholarships in honor of their beloved Risa Mari Otto!

    Risa Mari Otto Scholarship - $2,000 each award
    Ailyn Vargas, Marquette University
    Kylie Dube, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Yalzell Noriega, Marquette University

  • 22 Aug 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The WSHA Board of Directors is honored to be able to continue supporting speech-language and audiology professionals by offering an early bird discount for members who join or renew by October 31, 2022.With this discount, regular members pay only $99 for WSHA membership! For your convenience, we have updated invoices to reflect the early bird discount.

    We’re also pleased to extend an additional year of complimentary membership to our Recent Graduates . This means all early career professionals in their first year following graduation receive all the benefits of WSHA membership at no charge. Recent Graduates in their second- or third-year following graduation can take advantage of the reduced member rate of $75.If you’re new to WSHA, register via the WSHA website and indicate you are a Recent Graduate.

    We’re making plans for in-person Workshops, Virtual Town Hall Meetings, and Virtual Happy Hours to share important updates and resources as they become available. Visit the WSHA website for more information on the WSHA You Knew Webinar Series! These webinars are complimentary for WSHA members so join today to take advantage of this excellent opportunity!

    If you haven’t been a member of WSHA in the past, don’t wait JOIN TODAY!! Visit or email (not .com) for more information. If you have any questions, please email (not .com) – we’re here to help!

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