Policy Advisory

Policy Advisory Board Policies and Guidelines (Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology)

Date: 12/06/2017
Referenced Sources: Division of Professional Licensure's Office

Table of Contents

Speech-Language Pathologist Policy for the Administration of Barium During Radiographic Procedures

Policy No. 15-002

Speech-Language Pathologist Policy for the Administration of Barium During Radiographic Procedures

Speech-language pathologists provide evaluation and treatment services including radiographic procedures to evaluate an individual’s swallowing. Such procedures may require the administration of barium to the patient. Barium has been designated a medication. Therefore, the Board issues this Policy to clarify the scope of practice for the use, administration, storage and disposal of barium by speechlanguage pathologists. 

The Board interprets G.L. c. 112, §138 to allow licensed speech-language pathologists who are properly trained to administer barium when necessary for radiographic procedures and evaluations, under the general supervision of a physician, provided that there are protocols in place for emergency response. 

The following guidance has been adopted by the Board for speech-language pathologists when administering barium:

1. Before implementing the use of barium in his or her practice, the speech-language pathologist must review all available clinical information about the use, storage, administration and disposal of barium, as well as management of adverse reactions and follow-up care. This may include but is not limited to any relevant standards or studies issued by the American Speech-LanguageHearing Association (“ASHA”), and facility policies that govern all aspects of the use of barium. 

2. The speech-language pathologist must have an on-going relationship with a physician for referral and communication purposes.

3. The speech-language pathologist must comply with facility policies regarding the use, administration, storage and disposal of barium, which may include directives from the radiology and pharmacy departments.

4. The speech-language pathologist shall follow facility policy and procedure for the performance of radiographic studies, and shall not perform any functions assigned by the facility to another licensed medical professional, including but not limited to the operation of any radiographic equipment.

5. When participating in radiographic swallowing studies, the speech-language pathologist must have access to an appropriate medical professional with appropriate emergency response protocols in place to respond to an adverse reaction.

Policy on Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Licensure Requirements

Policy No. 15-001

Policy on Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Licensure Requirements

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (hereinafter, the “Board”) maintains licensure standards for speech-language pathologists and audiologists that are based, in part, upon standards created by recognized professional organizations. To reiterate the language in § 2.03 of the Board’s regulations, when “standards created by professional organizations are referenced, the Board does not require that licensees maintain membership in said organization.” In order to maintain high professional standards and ensure adequate preparation for applicants, the Board issues this policy in anticipation of a longer-term regulation change.

Applicants for licensure as speech-language pathologists on or after September 1, 2014 must meet the 2014 Standards for Certification of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (hereinafter, “ASHA”) or the then-current ASHA Standards for Certification in Speech-Language Pathology. For the 2014 Standards for Certification, the major differences between them and the prior standards are a greater emphasis on the study and mastery of biological science, the physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences. More information can be found on ASHA’s website: www.asha.org

Applicants for licensure as audiologists on or after September 1, 2014 must meet either the current ASHA Standards for Certification in Audiology or the current requirements for Board Certification in Audiology of the American Board of Audiology, other than any requirement of licensure for such certification. More information can be found on the American Board of Audiology’s website: www.boardofaudiology.com

Speech-Language Pathologist Policy for the Use of Topical Anesthesia

Policy No. 14-001

Speech-language pathologists provide evaluation and treatment services that may require the use of topical anesthetics to complete certain functional evaluation and/or treatment activities. For example, a patient may require the use of a topical anesthetic while undergoing a Fiberoptic Endoscopic Examination of Swallowing (FEES) procedure or Video Stroboscopy for the purpose of evaluating an individual’s voice or swallowing function.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (hereinafter, the “Board”) interprets G.L. c. 112, § 138 to allow licensed speech-language pathologists who are specially trained to use topical anesthetics when necessary to complete such procedures and evaluations, pursuant to a physician’s order and under the general supervision of a physician, provided that there are protocols in place for emergency response. 

The following guidance has been adopted by the Board for speech-language pathologists when using topical anesthetics: 

1. The speech-language pathologist must check facility policies to ensure that he or she may apply a topical anesthetic in that facility.

2. The speech-language pathologist must undergo training in the use of topical anesthetics that includes information about negative reactions and follow-up care. It is required that such training be documented in the speech-language pathologist’s personnel file, be updated regularly, and be readily available to the Board upon request.

3. The speech-language pathologist must have an on-going relationship with a physician for information and referral purposes.

4. The speech-language pathologist must inform the patient of the need for the use of a topical anesthetic, and of the right to have a physician (instead of the speech-language pathologist) administer the topical anesthetic. Informed consent forms required by the facility must be signed by the patient.

5. The speech-language pathologist must have access to an appropriate medical professional and/or facility, with appropriate emergency response protocols in place, in the event that an adverse reaction occurs.

6. Speech-language pathologists should review relevant scope of practice documents, position statements, and related ethics issues prior to implementing the use of topical anesthetics in their practice.

Downloads for Board Policies and Guidelines (Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology)

Referenced Sources:

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