Louisiana Academy of Audiology Spotlight
The Louisiana Academy of Audiology (LAA) recently had its first Day at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. There was a good turnout of established professionals as well as students. LAA has been advocating for balanced billing legislation that allows for patients to choose technology more advanced than their insurance plan allows for if the patient agrees to pay the difference in cost. Previously, patients were unable to take advantage of their hearing aid benefit if they chose a higher level of technology and they were not given the option of paying out of pocket. LAA’s work advocating for this legislation was successful and we were pleased to see SB 235 signed into law with no opposition.
During our Day at the Capitol, students conducted hearing screenings and passed out informational brochures that highlighted the many negative consequences of untreated hearing loss. We are planning to do this annually with more professional member and student involvement. State and national advocacy is so important for our profession and it provides an opportunity for professional members who are not involved in committee work or task forces to engage in leadership by reaching out to their elected officials. It also provides a bridge for our state academy members to become involved with the Academy. Most recently our state president, Courtney Stewart, served and is serving as a State Ambassador Mentor to members of our University’s SAA chapters. The State Ambassador Program is an SAA initiative that serves to link SAA chapters within a state, as well as link them to the state academy. The goal is to create a culture of advocacy among our students that will lead to more volunteer involvement at the state and national level.