Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text


Incorporation of cerumen management and assistant SLP regulations
Stage: Final

Part I
General Provisions

18VAC30-21-10. Definitions.

A. The words and terms "audiologist," "board," "practice of audiology," "practice of speech-language pathology," "speech-language disorders," and "speech-language pathologist" when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in § 54.1-2600 of the Code of Virginia.

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Active practice" means a minimum of 160 hours of professional practice as an audiologist or speech-language pathologist for each 12-month period immediately preceding application for licensure. Active practice may include supervisory, administrative, educational, research, or consultative activities or responsibilities for the delivery of such services.

"ASHA" means the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

"Client" means a patient or person receiving services in audiology or speech-language pathology.

"Contact hour" means 60 minutes of time spent in continuing learning activities.

"Limited cerumen management" means the identification and removal of cerumen from the cartilaginous outer one-third portion of the external auditory canal in accordance with minimum standards and procedures set forth in this chapter.

"School speech-language pathologist" means a person licensed pursuant to § 54.1-2603 of the Code of Virginia to provide speech-language pathology services solely in public school divisions.

"Supervision" means that the audiologist or speech-language pathologist is responsible for the entire service being rendered or activity being performed, is available for consultation, and is providing regular monitoring and documentation of clinical activities and competencies of the person being supervised.


Part V
Standards of Practice

18VAC30-21-140. Supervision Supervisory responsibilities; supervision of unlicensed assistants.

A. If a licensed audiologist or speech-language pathologist has unlicensed assistants, he shall document supervision of them, shall be held fully responsible for their performance and activities, and shall ensure that they perform only those activities which do not constitute the practice of audiology or speech-language pathology and which are commensurate with their level of training.

B. A licensee may delegate to an unlicensed assistant such activities or functions that are nondiscretionary and do not require the exercise of professional judgment for performance.

A. Responsibility of a licensee.

1. A licensed audiologist who supervises unlicensed assistants shall document such supervision, shall be held fully responsible for their performance and activities, and shall ensure that they perform only those activities that do not constitute the practice of audiology and that are commensurate with their level of training.

2. A licensed speech-language pathologist who supervises unlicensed assistants shall document such supervision, shall be held fully responsible for their performance and activities, and shall ensure that they perform only those activities that do not constitute the practice of speech-language pathology and that are commensurate with their level of training.

a. A speech-language pathologist shall not supervise an assistant without the speech-language pathologist's knowledge and consent by the assistant and the licensee documented prior to assumption of supervisory responsibilities.

b. The frequency in which the speech-language pathologist personally delivers treatment or services to a client who is receiving some services from an assistant shall be up to the professional judgment of the speech-language pathologist and shall be determined by the treatment needs of the client, the type of services being provided, and the setting in which the client is being served, but shall occur at least every 30 days.

C. 3. The identity of the unlicensed assistant shall be disclosed to the client prior to treatment and shall be made a part of the client's file.

B. Qualifications of a speech-language pathologist assistant.

1. A person acting as a speech-language pathologist assistant shall have:

a. A bachelor's degree or associate's degree and documented training by a licensed speech-language pathologist in topics related to the client population to be served; or

b. Employment as a speech-language pathologist assistant in a United States jurisdiction within the last five years preceding July 27, 2016.

2. A speech-language pathologist supervising an assistant shall be responsible for determining that the knowledge, skills, and clinical experience of the assistant are sufficient to ensure competency to perform all tasks to which the assistant is assigned. The speech-language pathologist shall document competency after training and direct observation of the assistant's performance of such tasks, and a record of skills and competencies shall be maintained.

C. Scope of practice of a speech-language pathologist assistant. After demonstration and documentation of competency for the duties to be assigned, an assistant shall only engage in those duties planned, designed, and supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist, to include the following:

1. Assist with speech, language, and hearing screenings without clinical interpretation of results.

2. Assist during assessment of a client exclusive of administration or interpretation.

3. Perform activities for each session that are routine and do not require professional judgment, in accordance with a plan developed and directed by the speech-language pathologist who retains the professional responsibility for the client.

4. Document a client's performance and report information to the supervising speech-language pathologist.

5. Assist with programming augmentative and alternative communication devices and assist the client in repetitive use of such devices.

6. Sign or initial informal treatment notes and, upon request, co-sign formal documents with the supervising speech-language pathologist.

7. Engage in the following activities:

a. Preparing materials;

b. Scheduling appointments and activities;

c. Preparing charts, records, or graphs and performing other clerical duties;

d. Performing checks and maintenance of equipment; and

e. Assisting a client with transitioning to and from therapy sessions.

8. Perform duties not otherwise restricted to the practice of speech-language pathology.

D. A speech-language pathologist assistant shall not engage in the practice of speech-language pathology, including the following:

1. Represent himself as a speech-language pathologist.

2. Perform standardized or nonstandardized diagnostic tests or formal or informal evaluations.

3. Perform procedures that require a professional level of clinical acumen and technical skill.

4. Tabulate or interpret results and observations of feeding and swallowing evaluations or screenings performed by a speech-language pathologist.

5. Participate in formal conferences or meetings without the presence of the supervising speech-language pathologist.

6. Provide interpretative information to the client, the family of the client, or others regarding the client's status or service.

7. Write, develop, or modify a client's treatment plan.

8. Assist in or provide services as specified in subsection C of this section unless directed by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

9. Sign any formal documents in lieu of the supervising speech-language pathologist.

10. Select a client for service or discharge a client from service.

11. Make a decision on the need for additional services or make referrals for service.

12. Disclose clinical or confidential information either orally or in writing to anyone other than the supervising speech-language pathologist, unless mandated by law or authorized by the supervising speech-language pathologist.

13. Develop or determine the swallowing or feeding strategies or precautions for a client or provide feeding or swallowing treatment.

E. Supervision of an assistant in speech-language pathology.

1. The practice of an assistant shall only be supervised by a speech-language pathologist who retains full legal and ethical responsibility for the client. A speech-language pathologist shall only supervise the equivalent of two full-time assistants.

2. The speech-language pathologist shall provide the level of supervision to the speech-language pathologist assistant necessary to ensure quality of care to include onsite supervision of at least two client sessions for each assistant being supervised every 30 days to directly observe and evaluate the performance of the assistant. The speech-language pathologist shall document such onsite observation and evaluation in the client record for each session.


18VAC30-21-145. Limited cerumen management.

A. In order for an audiologist to perform limited cerumen management, he shall:

1. Be a graduate of a doctoral program in audiology that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or other accrediting body recognized by the board and that included didactic education and supervised clinical experience in cerumen management as specified in subsection B of this section; or

2. Complete a course or workshop in cerumen management that provides training as specified in subsection B of this section and that is approved by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association or the American Academy of Audiology.

B. An audiologist shall maintain documentation evidencing satisfactory completion of training in cerumen management to include the following:

1. Recognizing the presence of preexisting contraindications that necessitate referral to a physician;

2. Recognizing patient distress and appropriate action to take if complications are encountered;

3. Use of infection control precautions;

4. Procedures for removal of cerumen, including cerumen loop, gentle water irrigation, suction, and the use of material for softening;

5. Observation of each type of cerumen management procedure performed by a qualified audiologist or physician; and

6. Successful performance, under direct supervision by an audiologist qualified to perform cerumen management or a physician, of each type of cerumen management procedure.

C. An audiologist shall not perform cerumen management on a patient who has any of the following preexisting contraindications:

1. A perforated tympanic membrane;

2. Inflammation, tenderness, drainage, or open wounds or traces of blood in the external ear canal;

3. History of ear surgery that results in distortion of the external ear canal;

4. HIV infection or bleeding disorders;

5. Actual or suspected foreign body in the ear, excluding hearing aid components that are located in the lateral one-third portion of the ear canal;

6. Stenosis or bony exostosis of the ear canal; or

7. Cerumen impaction that totally occludes the visualization of the tympanic membrane.

D. An audiologist performing cerumen management shall:

1. Obtain informed consent of the patient or legally responsible adult and document such consent and the procedure performed in the patient record.

2. Refer patients to a physician if they exhibit contraindications or experience any complication, such as dizziness, during the procedure.