President's Message: 2020: New Year, New Decade, and New Opportunities

Author: Deb Abel, Au.D.

Standing on the precipice of a new year and a new decade, it also appears that we are standing on a professional precipice. This year we can envision MAASA passing after so many years of fractured attempts, finding out what the FDA Over-the-Counter guidance looks like and how the process of their sales will be realized, of seeing what new marriages/mergers will occur between large corporations and also with practices and for the continued impact Third Party Administrators will have on audiology practices. As Bob Dylan aptly wrote “the times, they are a changin’.” We must change with them.

The Academy of Doctors of Audiology has always been the leader for change; we will continue to be that for our members. We had the most successful Lobby Day in mid-November (2019) with 174 audiologists and students on Capitol Hill, but we cannot rest on our laurels. HR 4056 and S 2446 continue to build momentum in the 116th Congress with additional co-sponsors. As you know, this is the opportunity for Part B Medicare beneficiaries to have direct access to audiologists (removing the required physician order), be reimbursed for all of our services as determined by your state licensure laws which mandate scopes of practice and to be classified as “practitioners” and not “suppliers.” Please take a moment to reconnect with your members of Congress. Plan a visit to see them in their home office when they are on recesses from Washington. Invite them to your office and have them see first hand all the services that we provide.

The 2020 Board is also looking forward to collaborating with and mentoring the Student Academy of Doctors of Audiology Board with a “match-up” of positions. I personally look forward to working with Kate Witham, especially as she nears the completion of her Au.D.

Finally, I want to thank the following: Ram Nileshwar, Au.D, for his leadership as President, Alicia Spoor, AuD, who will be rolling off the board as Past President, and Larry Schmidbauer, who acted as the Board Secretary for years. We are grateful for their steady, insightful and powerful leadership and willingness to do whatever it takes for the betterment of the profession and for those whom we serve. We wish them the best and hope they can enjoy a little more spare time. We welcome to the Board Victor Bray, PhD, as President-Elect and Stephanie Sjoblad, Au.D, as the director-at-large. This Board is always ready to listen as we truly are a member-driven organization and want you to let us know your thoughts and concerns. Please feel free to contact any of us at any time.

Wishing you and all of those in your professional and personal lives fulfillment, joy, good health, and much success in 2020. Here’s toasting to us all with my ear mug…things just taste just a little better.