Rep. Joe Courtney visits CLAS

Rep. Courtney and Associate Dean Williams get a tour of a video laboratory in the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Photography by Daniel Buttrey

Bernard Grela, associate professor in SLHS, explains the services and research occurring at the Speech and Hearing Clinic to Rep. Joe Courtney and Associate Dean Michelle Williams.

Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney visited the Speech and Hearing Clinic in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences on Sept. 26. He spoke with Associate Professor Bernard Grela and Associate Dean Michelle Williams of the Life Sciences about the clinic and the services it provides to the community: helping stroke victims, the hard-of-hearing, people with memory and attention problems and other hearing and voice issues.

Rep. Courtney then spoke to a crowd of graduate students in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences about the importance of legislation to their work.

In 2011, Rep. Courtney signed the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act, which moved to repeal the cap on coverage of outpatient physical therapy, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy services as provided by doctors. An eye-opening and inspiring experience, he said, has been watching Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az.) recover from a shooting in January 2011 that left her with a shot in the head and critically injured.

Janice Lomibao, a master’s student in the program, said that in her clinical internships, she sees the results of legislation at work all the time.

“How do you decide how long to give someone to recover?” she asks, referring to the fact that some of their clients are still in need of care when their covered services end.

Jenna Kaplowitz, also a master’s student, agreed.

“We see clients two to three times per week,” she said. “When you put a limit on their physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy, they might get less therapy than they need.”

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