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Let Me Hear from You

Let Me Hear from You

How to Become a 15-Second Activist 

Like most health-care professions, audiology is practiced in a variety of settings and usually, this is to the good. Diverse settings increase the opportunity to help patients and provide career options to the practitioner. But our diversity can also divide us. We dedicate ourselves to our specialties at the expense of losing touch with other specialties and their challenges.

A current challenge for many audiologists is third-party reimbursement. If your practice setting is not directly affected by the deep and frequent cuts occurring in reimbursement, you may not be following this trend. However, this is an instance where we need to look beyond our specialty and take in the bigger picture.

A review of the bigger picture: audiology is committed to becoming an autonomous profession. The first step toward that goal was to adopt a doctoral degree. In addition to expanding student education, the AuD positions practitioners to become independent—to rent office space, hang up a sign, and run one’s own practice. This degree of autonomy is not every audiologist’s personal goal, but it is the profession’s collective goal. It’s part of our evolution, akin to the development from adolescence to adulthood.

This goal is being undermined by inadequate third-party reimbursement. If improvements are not made in reimbursement, independent practitioners will be forced to close their doors—adversely impacting patient access, and representing an alarming step backward for the profession.

How can all audiologists speak for audiology on this issue? At the absolute, bare-bones minimum, we can respond when the Academy asks us to contact Congress about Medicare/Medicaid issues. E-mails to members are sent when a situation is urgent and needs your immediate attention. You definitely have the 15 seconds it takes to respond. Three clicks of the mouse and voila! You’ve just sent a note to your Senators and Congressional representative. In turn, you will get an immediate acknowledgement from the Academy, and typically, within 48 hours, acknowledgement of receipt from Capitol Hill.

When you receive an e-mail from the Academy to contact Congress, consider it an alert to close ranks as a profession. Even if reimbursement is not your problem, it is our problem, and it’s becoming a crisis. Fight for our profession, 15 seconds at a time.

And now, a preview of the agenda for the April 13 Board meeting:

GOVERNANCE

FY11 Committee & Board Liaison: P. Kricos
Strategic Plan Update: Timeline: P. Kricos

MEGA ISSUE: Proposed Non-Dues Revenue Ideas: English/Carey

ASSESS/ADJUST STRATEGY: Recommendation from Gov. Relations: P. Kricos

To review American Academy of Audiology State Licensure Statement
To review American Medical Association (AMA) Scope of Practice Tool Kit

POLICY: PUBLIC AND/OR OPERATIONAL:

Secretary/Treasurer’s Report: G. Jacobson
Motion: to approve minutes and treasurer’s report
Finance Committee: G Jacobson
Motion: to approve the FY11 proposed budget
Ethical Practice Committee: G. Ray
Membership Committee: K. Barry
Professional Standards & Practices Committee: D. Carlson
Motion: To approve Standards of Practice document
Consent Agenda: K. English
Motion: To approve Consent Agenda

ROUTINE BUSINESS

President’s Report: K. English
President Elect’s Report: P. Kricos
Past-President’s Report: P. Feeney
Executive Director’s Report: C. Carey
American Academy of Audiology Foundation: P. Feeney
American Board of Audiology: K. Jacobs
Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education: L. Eng
Student Academy of Audiology: V. Best