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Let Me Hear from You 

Board Meeting Highlights and a Beautiful Number

By Kris English, PhD

The Academy’s Board of Directors held our first “virtual meeting” on January 14-15, 2010. Board members connected by phone and computer to work through the agenda. Even while working without important nonverbal cues, we felt it was an experiment worth repeating in the future given the environmental and financial savings.

Before we started, however, we celebrated this important announcement: membership in the Academy had reached 11,012. Such a beautiful number! For the first time, membership has exceeded the 11,000 mark, thanks in large part to our Membership Committee (chair: Kelly King). We interpreted this milestone as both a vote of confidence and also a renewal of our “marching orders”—all the more reason to earn members’ trust and support as we create a professional home for audiology.

The meeting included the following reports:

  • President-Elect Patti Kricos described a comprehensive mid-year committee review process, wherein all chairs will provide input about fulfilling their charges, recommendations for next year, etc. Learn more about volunteering to serve on a committee.
  • Our lobbyist John Williams of The Federal Group provided a legislative update. H.R. 3024, Audiology’s Direct Access bill, had secured 53 sponsors in the 65 days Congress has been in session since the bill was introduced.
  • Our regulatory consultant, Grant Bagley of HillCo HEALTH provided an update regarding Medicare reimbursement policy.
  • “Members Connect”—A Member joined the board members by phone to “take the floor” for 5 minutes to communicate with the board.
    • Committee reports: Highlights from 6 of our 18 committees:
      Coding and Reimbursement (chair: Annette Burton) attended a tutorial on anti-trust statutes, and developed a report on Medicare Provider Status and the inability of audiologists to opt out of Medicare as providers. Committee members are preparing a full-day presentation Learning Lab and Learning Module on reimbursement for AudiologyNOW!® 2010.
    • Government Relations (chair: Erin Miller) continues to solicit support for the Direct Access legislation and the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill [http://capwiz.com/audiology/home/] Committee members are creating a tool kit for Academy members to assist them in responding to legislators about the AMA’s Scope of Practice Data Series. Academy members can use this tool kit as a reference when meeting with their representatives. The committee is preparing a Learning Module for AudiologyNOW! 2010 titled “Your Role in the Legislative Process.”
    • Honors (chair: Brenda Ryals): The 2010 award recipients have been notified. They include: Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology: Steven Fausti; Samuel F. Lybarger Award for Achievements In Industry: Elaine Saunders; Humanitarian Award: Briseida DeLeon Northrup; International Award In Hearing: Adrian Davis; and Distinguished Achievement in Audiology Award: Gail Chermak, Cynthia Compton Conley, David Hawkins, and Sharon Kujawa. These awardees will be recognized during the Awards and Honors Banquet at AudiologyNOW!
    • PAC (chair: Gyl Kasewurm) is developing an innovative fundraising campaign to “PUSH the PAC”.
    • Practice Policy Advisory Council (PPAC)(chair: Brad Stach) members will attend upcoming RUC (Relative Value Scale Update Committee) and CPT (Current Procedural Terminology Editorial Panel) meetings at the AMA and work with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Health Care Economic Committee presenting values for CPT code 92587 at the February RUC Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee meeting.
    • State Leaders Network (chair: John Coverstone) is preparing to disseminate “tool kit” materials being developed by Government Relations Committee (mentioned above). It published a newsletter last December and responded to several requests for information on state licensure issues.

And, a happy note on which to end the meeting: Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) President Virginia Best announced that SAA has already established 40 chapters among the 73 audiology doctoral programs and consortia. As a humanitarian project, SAA will be encouraging chapters and individual members to participate in the Special Olympics Healthy Hearing program.

The final FY10 board meeting will be held on April 13. If you are interested in communicating with the board via “Members Connect,” contact Executive Director Cheryl Kreider Carey before March 13.

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