Let Me Hear from You
First Signs of Spring
I’ve seen robins out an about, daffodils in bloom, the grass greening up on putting surfaces, daylight until almost 6:00 pm—it’s unmistakable, spring is around the corner. Just a couple of downsides: spring cleaning, dusting off the golf clubs, and looking the fool until my swing gets back in shape! But before the vernal equinox arrives bright and early on March 20 of this year and we revel in its promise of all things new, we have loads of work to do. Just a few things to think about.
- You need to register for AudiologyNOW! in Boston, MA, March 28–31, 2012. Join your colleagues in this noble town for education, networking, sightseeing, and all forms of frivolity. Make it a point while in Boston to stretch yourself and attend a session on a new topic area to explore and expand your mind; make it a point to meet and engage in conversation with at least five new colleagues (I’m sure you will be amazed at how much you have in common); make it a point to attend as many social events as possible to give your brain a break and to put a smile on your face (as Dolly Parton said in the movie Steel Magnolias, “Smile: it increases your face value!”); make it a point to stop by Academy Central to “meet and greet” the ABA folks, make a bid at the AAA Foundation’s Silent Auction, discuss the latest news on accreditation with the new leadership of the ACAE, and spend a few minutes getting to know the student leadership of the SAA—this is one dynamic group of individuals; and make it a point to spend time in Audiology Solutions (Expo Hall) with literally hundreds of exhibitors who are presenting contemporary, solution-oriented options for all your professional needs.
- Advocacy: You need to go to the Academy’s Legislative Action Center and get your voice heard. If you haven’t done so already, please contact your elected representative and explain to him or her why direct access (H.R. 2140) legislation is in the best interest of their constituents and the healthcare system overall. You can also connect to our PAC Web page. Make your yearly contribution and considering upping the ante a bit this time. If you have never donated, take some time to read the legislative and regulatory strategies your colleagues have helped to map out and ask questions. The more you know, the more obvious your support of this initiative will be.
- Professional Issues: What is the 800-pound gorilla in the room? The United HealthCare/hi HealthInnovations’ new hearing device benefit for their Medicare Part C Advantage members/subscribers, and the overall topic of internet hearing aid sales and internet hearing self-diagnosis and self-treatment. Click here to find a comprehensive summary of the Academy work to date on this issue on behalf of the members, specifically the UHC/Hi HealthInnovations topic. There are no easy answers to these issues. We need to deal, one way or another, with this new reality and continue to work together to develop short and long term strategies to manage these 21st century issues. Things are changing at a rapid pace in healthcare, technology, online capabilities and the interplay among them.
In this context of change, what should you expect of your Academy? It should be clear that, if you believe the role of the Academy is to keep things the way they are, you have assigned it a responsibility for which it is doomed to fail! It is inevitable that the way we practice our profession will evolve as new technologies emerge, and as the needs and expectations of our patients change. You should, however, expect your Academy to stay abreast of the changing healthcare landscape, including evolving healthcare delivery models, governmental regulations, and their impact on our ability to do business and be there for the patients. Working together, we (volunteers and staff and like-minded external organizations), will ensure that we are prepared to provide the hearing and balance care that is expected and valued by our patients. By focusing on patient needs, and making sure we are the healthcare providers best prepared and suited to meet those needs, we guarantee our future and prosperity as a profession.