President's Message: Collaboration to Move the Needle on Education and Advocacy

Author: Ram Nileshwar, Au.D.

I would like to begin by thanking Dr. Alicia Spoor, ADA’s immediate past-president, for the outstanding work she did as president in 2018. She embodies ADA and its values of integrity, passion, perseverance, and honesty. Thank you, Dr. Spoor, for all you do for ADA and Audiology! Your efforts have set the stage for important collaborative initiatives to benefit ADA members and audiology.

ADA is truly excited to partner with the Maryland Academy of Audiology (MAA) in bringing AuDacity 2019 to members. Mark your calendars for this remarkable educational event to be held November 14 – 16, 2019 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland (near Washington D.C.). Early registration is underway, please visit www.audiologist.org to register. The staff and volunteers of ADA and MAA are already working feverishly to Move the Needle and deliver an outstanding convention!

I am also very pleased to report that ADA is working collaboratively with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) on a legislative initiative that will allow Medicare patients to have better access to audiologists and appropriately classify audiologists, so that they can work autonomously and to their full scope of practice for Medicare-covered services. ADA members and advocacy donors have worked tirelessly over the past six years to successfully advance the Audiology Patient Choice Act (APCA) in Congress. Your efforts moved the needle within the audiology community, as evidenced by this collaborative legislative initiative, which incorporates the same tenets:
  1. Medicare direct access (removal of the physician order requirement)
  2. Reimbursement for Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services performed by an audiologist, as dictated by his/her state-defined scope of practice
  3. Reclassification of audiologists from “suppliers” to “limited license” status
The new initiative includes one important practical change from APCA. The new legislation will seek to reclassify Audiologists from “suppliers” to “Limited License Practitioners” within the Medicare system (whereas APCA sought to reclassify Audiologists from “suppliers” to “Limited License Physicians”). This change will maintain APCA’s promise to allow for improved access to audiologic care for patients and improved autonomy and recognition for Audiologists. The new legislation will have an even greater chance of success as it will be introduced to Congress with a unified voice of support from the Audiology community. Thanks to all of you who were able to attend the advocacy town hall meeting in February to vote in support of the multi-organizational collaboration to move the legislation forward.

The staff and leadership of ADA, ASHA and AAA are working together to advance the legislation in the 116th Congress as soon as possible. Together, we will ‘move the needle’ farther and faster than ever before. Please stay tuned for more details!