The College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals is closely monitoring rapidly evolving developments with the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Based on the latest developments in British Columbia, CSHBC strongly recommends that all Registered Audiologists (RAUDs), Registered Hearing Instrument Practitioners (RHIPs), and Registered Speech-Language Pathologists (RSLPs) who work in private practice conduct a risk assessment, suspend in-person elective and non-essential services, and only provide urgent and emergent services.
CSHBC recommends that registrants follow this protocol for approximately two weeks, from March 19, 2020 until April 1, 2020, at which time they should re-evaluate the situation. CSHBC will also issue an update before April 1, 2020.
The College recommends that RAUDs, RHIPs, and RSLPs who work in public health clinics, hospitals, health agencies, long-term care facilities, school districts, and other public sector settings conduct a risk assessment and follow the direction of their employers and public health officials.
Further to the above recommendations, registrants may consider offering “virtual care”, when and where appropriate and according to client ability and needs. CSHBC’s Virtual Care standard of practice defines virtual care as “the provision of health care services at a distance, using information and digital communications technologies and processes.” Registrants providing virtual care must adhere to specific standards outlined in the Virtual Care standard of practice (PDF) and the Registrant Code of Ethics (PDF). Also see the Notice to the Professions on Providing Virtual Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Registrants should assess what services can be provided by virtual care. This may include, but not be limited to, phone or video consults with parents, video or phone therapy sessions with clients directly, reviewing written homework or videos submitted to clinicians for feedback and guidance, and some hearing testing/screening that may be amenable to virtual care.
Registrants must also ensure that any delegation of services to communication health assistants/non-registrants complies with Part 12 of the CSHBC Bylaws and the Standard of Practice on Communication Health Assistants (Delegation & Assignment) (PDF).
CSHBC does not have the legal authority to mandate that registrants cease or alter practice when they are not in contravention of the College’s Bylaws or other applicable legislation. CSHBC is, however, making recommendations that are consistent with guidance on social distancing and other measures provided by BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the BC Centre for Disease Control. On March 17, 2020, Dr. Henry declared a public health emergency in BC. On March 18, 2020, the BC government declared a provincial state of emergency. The College is also requesting further guidance from the Ministry of Health and coordinating with other BC health regulatory colleges.
CSHBC’s recommendations on suspension of services are subject to change, depending on developments with the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance provided by health officials.
Registration renewal deadline and installment plan
Registrants are reminded that the deadline for renewing their registration for 2020/2021 is March 31, 2020.
Registrants must also renew any Certified Practice (CP) certificates expiring on March 31, 2020 before that date.
However, in light of the situation with COVID-19, on March 18, 2020, the College’s Registration Committee passed a one-time emergency resolution that enables CSHBC registrants to pay registration renewal fees for 2020/2021 in an installment plan. The Registration Committee implemented the installment plan solely to address the extraordinary situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the emergency resolution.
According to the resolution, for the year 2020/2021 only, registrants may pay registration renewal fees in two installments:
- Renewal of active and conditional active registration: two installments of $375 each, due June 30, 2020 and August 31, 2020.
- Renewal of inactive registration: two installments of $137.50 each, due June 30, 2020 and August 31, 2020.
Once the installment plan is implemented, all registrants who have not renewed their registration will be automatically moved to the installment plan.
Through the Registrant Portal, registrants must complete the registration process and installment plan declarations. At that point, two invoices will be auto-generated: one invoice for 50% of the total registration fees due on or before June 30, 2020, and one invoice for 50% of the total registration fees due on or before August 31, 2020. Any registrant wishing to pay both invoices up front may do so.
Registrants not intending to practice in the 2020/2021 registration year are asked to contact the College prior to the March 31, 2020 registration renewal deadline.
Registrants who fail to pay registration renewal fees by the installment deadlines will have their registration cancelled for failure to meet registration renewal requirements. Installments must be paid on time. There is no grace period or “reinstatement” period after an installment deadline.
If you have already renewed your registration, you are not eligible to switch to the installment plan. CSHBC thanks those registrants for renewing their registration in advance of the deadline.
For more information on registration renewal, see the FAQs on registration renewal.
Practice review pilot for RSLPs suspended until further notice
CSHBC launched phase 2 of the Quality Assurance and Professional Practice (QAPP) Practice Review module by initiating a pilot project with a sample population of RSLPs. Due to the situation with COVID-19, the Practice Review pilot with RSLPs is suspended until further notice. Deadlines for submission of documentation previously communicated to the pilot project participants are no longer in effect.
Health Regulatory Hub closed to the public
The CSHBC office in the Health Regulatory Hub at 200 Granville Street is closed to the public until further notice. All staff of BC health regulatory colleges located in the Hub – including CSHBC – are working remotely. Registrants or applicants who need to provide documents to CSHBC are asked to send the documentation by email or regular mail. The College is continuing to respond to email and telephone messages and receive and process mail. Due to the high volume of enquiries at this time, there may be slight delays in responding.