Have You Heard? (Winter 2021)

Exceptional Audiologists Honored at AuDacity 2021
AuDacity brought together exceptional audiologists from around the country, four of whom were recognized for their clinical, educational, advocacy, and professional contributions to audiology and the community.

Leo Doerfler Award
Judy Huch, Au.D., owner of Oro Valley Audiology was presented with the Leo Doerfler Award in recognition of outstanding clinical services in the community by a private practice audiologist.

“Dr. Huch provides high-quality hearing and tinnitus services to her community with a goal to help as many people as possible, regardless of their ability to pay,” said ADA President, Dr. Victor Bray, “and her non-profit clinic, Grace Hearing Center, supports her humanitarian work and has improved hearing health equity in Arizona by providing free care to underserved populations.”

In addition to making volunteer service a priority, Dr. Huch mentors others around the country into humanitarian work. She graciously shares her ideas and resources with anyone interested in developing non-profit clinics in their communities. She is a role model for both clinical services and community service and ADA is grateful for her contributions to ADA, audiology, and to her patients.

Joel Wernick Award
Richard Gans, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the American Institute of Balance received the Joel Wernick Award in recognition of his outstanding educational contributions within the profession of audiology.

“Dr. Gans is widely recognized as a leading authority on clinical and business topics related to the delivery of vestibular services and interprofessional, collaborative care,” said Dr. Bray. “ He has trained thousands of audiologists, physicians, and physical and occupational therapists—and most importantly he tirelessly donates his time to teach students and young professionals as a preceptor and mentor.”

Dr. Gans has developed and taught several globally recognized vestibular diagnostic and treatment protocols. He has authored and presented hundreds of articles, textbook chapters, presentations, and workshops—more than enough to make anyone dizzy!

Craig W. Johnson Award
Bryan Greenaway, Au.D. received the Craig W. Johnson Award in recognition of his state and national advocacy efforts to serve the profession of audiology.

“Dr. Greenaway demonstrated a commitment to advocate for audiology even before his clinical training was completed,” noted Dr. Bray. “In fact, he went out of his way, literally, to complete an internship rotation on the opposite side of the country from his educational institution, and his fiancé, specifically to obtain experience scheduling and conducting legislative meetings with staff and members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to leading meetings with members of Congress to advance the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA), Dr. Greenaway serves as the Legislation and Policy Chair for the Oregon Academy of Audiology (OAA), where he spearheaded a successful advocacy effort to prevent enactment of regulations that would mandate certification as a condition of licensure and preceptorship in the State of Oregon.

President’s Award
Tom Tedeschi, Au.D. received the President’s Award for his outstanding contributions to audiology throughout his professional career.

“Dr. Tedeschi is a real renaissance man and a man of many surprises,” said Dr. Bray, noting that outside of audiology, Dr. Tedeschi served as an Army Ranger and a decorated Vietnam War Veteran and a professional tennis player and one-time doubles partner of Ilie Nastase.

Dr. Tedeschi served as the Chief of Audiology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron, as an owner and partner in Akron ENT Hearing and Balance, and in highly successful roles within the hearing industry.

“For ten years, I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Tom on education, training, and business development at Sonic Innovations,” said Dr. Bray. “Dr. Tedeshi has served as an exceptional liaison between professional associations and has made valuable contributions to advance audiology as a clinical doctoring profession, and we are grateful for his incredible service to our profession.”
Join or Renew Your State Association Dues and Receive a $50 Discount on ADA Dues
ADA believes that membership in your state audiology association is essential for your success and for success of the profession—so much so, that we will help minimize the cost to you! Join or maintain membership in your state audiology association and receive an immediate $50 discount on your ADA 2022 dues. Contact Parker Allen at pallen@audiologist.org for more information.
FDA Proposed OTC Hearing Aid Rule Comment Period Closes January 18, 2022; ADA Analysis Underway
On October 20, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Proposed Rule Establishing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids (Proposed Rule) with a 90-day deadline for comments (due by January 18, 2022). The rulemaking process follows President Biden’s Executive Order of July 9, 2021 and initiates implementation of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, ADA-supported, bipartisan legislation that was passed and signed into law as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) in 2017. FDARA directs the FDA to create a category of Over-the-Counter Hearing and develop regulations of OTC hearing aids that do the following:
  • Provide reasonable assurances of safety and efficacy;
  • Establish output limits and labeling requirements; and
  • Describe requirements for the sale of hearing aids in-person, by mail, or online, without a prescription.
ADA is diligently analyzing the Proposed Rule against the statutory requirements imposed by FDARA, alignment with ADA’s commitment to the delivery of evidence-based audiology services, professional autonomy for audiologists, and patient access and choice, and the degree to which the Proposed Rule specifically mitigates concerns brought forward by ADA’s 2021 Issue Brief, State Laws and Hearing Aid Sales: Home Field Advantage or House of Cards. ADA will hold a Members-Only Town Hall Session prior to the end of the comment period to present ADA’s analysis of the Proposed Rule and ADA’s draft comments for member input. Please contact Stephanie Czuhajewski at sczuhajewski@audiologist.org.
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Build Back Better Act with Medicare Hearing Benefit—Under Consideration in the Senate
On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) that includes several hearing-related provisions that would impact Medicare patients and audiologists, if ultimately enacted. The bill includes provisions that would add coverage of treatment services provided by audiologists and would reclassify audiologists as practitioners, two of the three provisions in the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA). However, the Build Back Better Act does not include a provision to eliminate the physician order requirement for Medicare beneficiaries as a condition of coverage of audiology services.

The bill also includes the following hearing related provisions:
  • To add hearing aid dispensers as ‘qualified hearing aid professionals’ eligible to provide hearing assessment services, as allowed by state licensure, subject to any additional requirements determined by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, including those relating to educational certification or accreditation.
  • Coverage of hearing aids for individuals with moderately severe to profound hearing loss in one or both ears once every five years if furnished through a written order by a physician, audiologist, or other practitioner for devices that are determined appropriate by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Exclusion of hearing aids from competitive bidding when furnished by a physician or other practitioner to their own patients as part of a professional service
At the time of this writing, ADA, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) are advocating for further amendments to improve beneficiary access to audiology services, and to support consumer protection, transparency, competition, and patient choice. Our groups are working to provide assistance and offer these recommendations as this legislation now moves over for consideration in the Senate. We will provide further updates on these advocacy efforts as the legislative process continues to evolve.
2022 Coding and Reimbursement Update Now Available On-Demand
Significant revenue cycle changes are ahead for 2022! This course, led by Dr. Kim Cavitt, focuses on the relevant coding, reimbursement, Medicare, and insurance changes for 2022. Evoked potential, E/M, and telehealth coding changes will be specifically addressed as will Merit Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and the new coverage policies of insurers and third-party administrators/provider networks.

Course Leader: Kim Cavitt, Au.D.
Upon completion, participant will be able to:
  • List the new CPT codes for 2022.
  • List the MIPS and Quality Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) codes for 2022.
  • Analyze third-party network agreements and program terms.
Please visit www.audiologist.org for more information (must be logged in to view the course).
AuDacity 2021: Unleashed Ideas, Opportunities, and Action
ADA’s 2021 AuDacity Conference, Audiology Unleashed, delivered unmatched education and networking opportunities for more than 400 members and guests from October 25 – 27, 2021 in Portland, Oregon—and access to more than 30-hours of online content. The AuDacity program focused on the role of audiology services as public health services with featured sessions on hearing health equity, interprofessional collaboration, health literacy, managing comorbidities, and improving awareness and access to care.

Keynote presenter, Dr. Kevin Franck, challenged ADA members to continue their “hop forward” approach to audiology service delivery and inspired us to unleash audiology’s potential by “focusing on the advice and not the device.” Keynote presenter, Claudia Gordon, shared her personal experience and diagnosis of permanent sudden hearing loss as a child, emigrating to the United States from Jamaica, barriers to access to audiology services, the discrimination and ableism that she encountered, and the encouragement that she received from her audiologist and the difference it made on her journey to become the first Black, Deaf, female attorney in the United States. AuDacity courses are now available on-demand for all registered attendees. For more information, please visit www.audiologist.org.

Planning is underway for AuDacity 2022, October 21-23, at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine (Dallas), Texas. ADA is seeking volunteers to serve on the ADA Education Committee and help build the AuDacity 2022 Conference Program. ADA members from all specialties and backgrounds are invited to serve! If you are planning to attend AuDacity 2022, are willing to participate in 4-5 teleconferences per year, and are willing to assist with the review of course proposal submissions, then please contact Brian Doty at bdoty@audiologist.org.