Government Relations news from American Academy of Audiology here.
Current issues and Action Alerts here.
CALL TO ACTION
January 2018- Audiology Patient Choice Act Support Needed
Senator Tim Scott is an important person to solicit as he is on the finance committee. I have attached a draft email to Senator Scott and his State Director (Joe McKeown). I have highlighted areas that must be customized by each audiologist, but truly the entire email can be changed to suit your specific perspective. I also attached two attachments that can be sent along with the email.
Senator Scott does not do many health care bills. As you all are probably aware, he is a strong champion for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Practice owners should emphasize that, and can customize the email or phone calls to include the economic contributions that they make to the community as an employer, business owner, tax payer etc. Also, any personal stories that you can share about the challenges that your Medicare B patients face because of the hoops they have to jump through would be great.
Joe can be reached at the following link: email@example.com. And a message can be left at any of the phone numbers below. The more calls, faxes and emails the better:
1901 Main Street Suite 1425
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 771-6112
Fax: (855) 802-9355
2500 City Hall Lane
3rd Floor Suite
North Charleston, SC 29406
Phone: (843) 727-4525
Fax: (855) 802-9355
104 South Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: (864) 233-5366
Fax: (855) 802-9355
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6121
Toll Free: (855) 425-6324
Fax: (202) 228-5143
We need to encourage your friends, colleagues and SCAA members to reach out to Sen. Scott’s office with fervor and persistence. We will be working to also get a meeting with his Washington DC staff in the coming weeks.
October 2017- EHDI Bill Passes Congress
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act, (S. 652). The Senate passed this legislation on September 7. The bill now moves to the President’s desk for his signature to become law. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored in the House by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), reauthorizes funding for EHDI programs over the next five years. Since this program was first approved in 2000, the number of newborns who were screened for hearing loss increased significantly from just 44 percent to over 97 percent.
“Detecting hearing loss early is critical to ensuring that newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children are able to access appropriate intervention programs in a timely manner,” said Academy President Jackie Clark, PhD. “The Academy commends Congress for acting to reauthorize EHDI, and we eagerly await President Trump’s signature on this important piece of legislation.”
The Academy thanks its members and other professional colleagues for their continued grassroots support in passing this important legislation!
Department of Labor (DOL) Rescinds Hearing Aid Specialist Apprenticeship Program- SUCCESS
On November 15th, 2015, ADA was informed that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) officially rescinded the highly concerning apprenticeship program for hearing aid dispensers. The controversial apprenticeship program was rescinded on July 25th. The DOL cited the need to seek additional input from audiology stakeholders before creating such a program in the future. This information was provided through a correspondence with Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), who expressed concern to the DOL on the development of the apprenticeship program absent input from audiology organizations. ADA will continue to monitor future actions by the DOL regarding hearing aid dispenser apprenticeship to ensure that the public interest is protected.
ADA's 18x18 initiative
Federal Bill H.R. 2519- Audiology Patient Choice Act
Update (May 2017):
U.S. Senate Passes H.R. 3471, “Fit to Serve” Bill with Patient Protections
On November 17th, the U.S. Senate passed, H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015 by unanimous consent. This bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 12, 2016, and is expected to be signed into law by the President. While the legislation includes a provision that would recognize hearing aid specialists for appointment under the VA, it specifically requires that hearing aid specialists provide services only related to the practice of fitting and dispensing of hearing aids, and under a treatment plan of an audiologist.
The passage of H.R. 3471 (and the DOL decision referenced above) represent the culmination of efforts by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), to prevent hearing aid dispensers from inappropriately expanding their job functions and duties both within the VA system and on the state level.
Federal Legislative Issues