For the better part of two years, the 2016 presidential election has captured the nation’s attention and dominated the local, state, and national news. Now that the dust has settled from this election, it’s time for the Academy to identify and pursue our legislative and regulatory priorities for the upcoming year. In addition to a new Presidential Administration, the 115th Congress will begin on January 3, 2017. As policymakers move into new roles, now is the time for the audiology community to jump into action.
Topic(s): Advocacy, audiology, Political Action Committee (PAC)
The current pandemic has upended virtually all aspects of our lives: work, interaction with family and friends, schooling, travel, and finances. However, Congress and federal and state agencies have continued working under these extraordinary conditions to respond to the myriad of financial and health-care-related crises created by COVID-19.
Topic(s): audiology, Advocacy
On December 1, 2016, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016. This bill would make certain types of hearing aids available on an over-the-counter (OTC) basis, would remove the requirement for a medical evaluation (or signed waiver), and would also allow personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) to be sold for the treatment of hearing loss.
Topic(s): Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), Advocacy
The American Academy of Audiology’s State Network Subcommittee (SNS) serves to facilitate communication among states, and to develop and share resources. State advocates often ask the SNS to provide guidance on how states can begin to form their own audiology organization. The Academy has a State Leaders’ Handbook, available on the Academy’s website, which provides an overview of the process.
Topic(s): Advocacy, State Network Subcommittee
The World Health Organization has designated March 3 as World Hearing Day. With this year’s theme addressing the economic impact of untreated hearing loss, a group of 31 audiology students from the Ohio State University and the Northeast Ohio AuD Consortium (NOAC) came to Washington, DC, to deliver this important message to lawmakers and to discuss other issues impacting the profession of audiology.
Topic(s): Advocacy, World Health Organization (WHO), Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act
Many of you may be familiar with, or may have even used, the Academy’s e-mail box for submitting coding, reimbursement, and compliance-related questions. This centralized mailbox (email@example.com) allows the Academy’s Coding and Reimbursement Committee (CRC) to review and discuss all inquiries posed to the Academy. The CRC is able to research, discuss, and vet responses to questions received. Having a centralized system for answering questions serves many purposes.
Topic(s): Coding, Reimbursement, Advocacy
The past 18 months have been nothing if not interesting for our profession. Between PCAST, the FDA, and the National Academy of Sciences, there have been multiple recommendations and suggestions regarding improving the access to, and affordability of, hearing care. More recently, the FTC announced that they too would be reviewing the delivery of hearing care, from their perspective as a consumer protection agency. And a bill has just been introduced in Congress that directs the FDA to develop rules for an over-the-counter hearing device.
Topic(s): Patient care, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid devices, Advocacy, audiology