Volume #4 - April 2019
Audiology Resources
Monthly News & Updates

My apologies but my travel schedule has pushed my April newsletter back! I am barely getting it in under the wire!

I was in Florida for ten days on a high school choir trip (the kids were awesome), followed by spring break (where I got a great tan, a lot of exercise and some great memories). I came back from Florida and then almost immediately headed out to my boot camp in Newark! It was great to spend some time working with practices to maximize reimbursement and explore disruptive hearing aid pricing and delivery models and practice structures! What a great group!

Did you know that 99% of boot camp attendees would recommend the boot camp to a friend or colleague? My next face to face boot camp is in Phoenix in September and, if you want to view the boot camp from the comfort of your home or office, the recorded boot camp is also available! You can learn more about my boot camp offerings at Training Event Options .

Enjoy Spring!



Monthly Coding and Reimbursement Tips
Did you know that, if you are out of network and/or do not participate with Medicare Part C (Advantage) programs that there are limits on what you can charge these patients for these out of network, covered diagnostic services?

Medicare Part C patients are only financially responsible for the Medicare limiting charges for your geographic area when billing for covered diagnostic services as an out of network provider.

Audiologists can charge their usual and customary rates for non-covered services.

Research Spotlight

Some of the most respected and cited work in hearing science at this moment is coming out of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Lin and his team are creating the foundational research supporting the need for increased access and affordability.

You can view their studies at Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health

On a side note, it is important that we, in your marketing and patient communications, represent this research responsibly and correctly.
The Time for Change is Running Out
Audiology is at a pivotal crossroads. In my opinion, how we, collectively, respond in the next five to ten years could seal the fate of the profession I love so much for its eternity. We have numerous challenges facing us on every front and, as a profession, we keep kicking the can down the road instead of making the tough, necessary decisions needed to evolve and thrive. Our issues surrounding AuD and PhD education, the lack of standards and evidence, licensure and scope of practice, relationships with industry, hearing aid pricing and delivery models, state and federal advocacy, hearing aid dispensers and assistants scope creep, audiology compensation and return on investment and, most importantly, professional apathy, need to be immediately addressed or market forces will begin to dictate and control the role and scope of audiology in the healthcare and retail spaces.

Audiologists desperately need to bind together towards in a singular, defined direction and speak as a unified, singular collective voice. I see audiologists abandoning state and national associations at a time when the opposite is vital.  We expend a great deal of time and resources, both human and financial, meeting and talking about what needs to be done rather than actually getting things done. No one is willing to make the necessary, difficult choices the collective profession so desperately requires. We need someone to have the political will to lead and we need others to put aside their personal or association agendas or egos and get the %^&* out of the way. The window for action has been slowly closing over the last decade. I hope we do not wait until it is too late.

So, what do individual audiologists need to do? Here is my view from the cheap seats:

§   Audiologists need to support our state audiology and speech and hearing associations through membership and attendance at their annual or bi-annual meetings. It is state licensure that controls your scope and ability to practice. State associations need you and your resources, both human and financial, to fund lobbyists and legislative initiatives. The OTC Act of 2017 will require every state dispensing law to be addressed so now it is vital to support the work being done at the state level.

§   Audiologists need to support the national association(s) that best represents their ideals and direction for the profession. National associations need your support, in the form of membership, convention attendance, PAC donations, and volunteer engagement if you want THEM to support YOU and our profession. It is NOT someone else’s responsibility; it is our collective responsibility to move audiology forward. If every audiologist donated $100 a year to a Political Action Committee, we would have a $1,000, 000+ legislative and regulatory voice.

§   Audiologists need to mentor and precept the next generation of audiologists. We need to provide access and exposure to all types of practice models and clinical settings. The AuD cannot fulfill its destiny if too many of us refuse to support AuD education.

§   Audiologists need to market audiology and audiology services rather than a merely manufacturer’s product. We need to make consumers aware of AUDIOLOGY and the value and expertise we can bring to their quality of life and communication.

§   Audiologists should consistently practice audiology to its fullest scope and to its most comprehensive evidence. We need to provide the degree and level of care unavailable from disruptive forces. We need to integrate the latest research and clinical tools into our practices.

§   Audiologists should provide itemized, transparent hearing aid pricing. This allows us to show the consumer or patient the value we provide beyond the device. Our reluctance to share this has backfired and makes us appear to be greedy or gouging consumers.

§   A critical mass of audiologists should bind together to support or oppose or shape the role of managed care, third-party administrators, buying groups, and hearing aid manufacturers in our space. For example, we could lower wholesale hearing aid pricing if we would forsake our short-term individual statuses for the long-term creation and support of a group purchasing alternative.

§   Audiology and audiologists need to evolve and change to meet the needs of todays consumers. Our 20 th century educational, practice and hearing aid delivery models may be ill suited for the digital, social media driven, accessible world we now find ourselves in. Consumers want access, affordable options, and reliable, transparent information and care. We need to meet consumers where they are and not expect them to want to play, solely, by our rules.

I firmly believe that audiology and audiologists have many exciting, lucrative opportunities ahead IF and ONLY IF we are agents of the future and not of the past. Adherence to the status quo could be our Achille’s heel. To quote Socrates, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new”.  Let’s bind together for the common good, make the tough, collective decisions necessary, and take audiology out of the 1980s and into the new millennium! Who’s with me?