American Hearing Profession Representative Organisations Make Combined Statement
In a particularly unusual move, the three representative organisations the AAA, The ADA and The ASHA made a joint statement focusing on changing consumer needs and realities within our profession.
The American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have issued a joint statement focusing on consumer needs in the delivery models of hearing health care
The statement focused on the changing face of our industry and the demands of our Patients. The statement is a call for reflection and indeed action regarding the current business of hearing care. It outlined how the insurance industry, technology, and patient pricing concerns have led us to a situation that requires us to adapt to new realities in the delivery of hearing care.
The letter also suggests some questions that we should be asking right now in relation to our delivery models. It also outlined some resources for further reading. In essence the statement is asking us all to consider strategy to secure your business long term by the possibility of unbundling product and service.
The main questions raised by the statement are as follows
- What role does the sale of hearing aids play in your practice model? Do you have options in place to accommodate consumers who arrive at your practice with a hearing aid purchased elsewhere?
- Are the costs associated with the care you provide transparent to the patient? If appropriate, do you itemize the cost of your services? When discussing amplification and other treatment, do you offer patients options? Do you engage family and others to support the patient with hearing loss?
- Do you charge your patients appropriately for the products and services that you provide? Are you familiar with policies of competitive entities in your immediate locale? Are your services clearly defined and valued in your contracts with payer groups?
- Do you provide treatment for hearing loss that reflects the full scope of practice for audiology? Do you provide information on hearing assistive technology, listening training, and counselling—all of which could expand and enhance the service delivery model for your patients?
- Do you use or have you considered employing audiology assistants to provide appropriate care under your supervision, thereby enabling you to expand professional services for your patients?
- How do you plan to engage consumers in your local area to facilitate and enhance access to your services?
- Do you employ established best practices (verification, counselling, etc.) to ensure and improve patient outcomes? Do you measure patient satisfaction?
- Are you aware of your professional code of ethics, state licensure rules, and legal and regulatory guidelines that impact your specific practice setting (e.g., anti-trust policy, correct coding and billing practices)?
The online resources are as follows
Guide to itemizing your professional services
Considerations for dispensing Audiologists
In essence the Representative organisations are encouraging you to consider what they call a Paradigm shift. I believe and have had said before that we are on the cusp of major changes within our industry. You need to consider how you will manage these changes, you need to consider long term strategy for the sustainability of your business.
The exclusion of IHS may hinder the move forward toward better deliver of services that we would all like to see. http://ihsinfo.org/IhsV2/Home/Index.cfm
I think you are correct. I think all stakeholders need to be involved in the debate. I think the organisations are really putting their members on notice. The times they are changing.
While I understand and agree with our need to recognize the realities around us, this statement can be read as a capitulation of our representing organizations to have any ability to shape our future. The market forces, technology, insurance companies, and we as practitioners will all have more influence over the situation then our organizations will. This should raise the question – exactly what are these organizations doing for us?
Firstly, thank you for your comment. The statement doesn’t really discuss any strategy for moving forward other than to offer the links to the accompanying documents.
I think there are definitely ways for the professional stakeholders to shape the future of hearing healthcare. There are also commercial strategies that can be applied to secure your business.
“Do you provide treatment for hearing loss that reflects the full scope of practice for audiology?” This is about making audiologists think about what they do and why and how it could be different. Not applicable to all isn’t the same thing as being excluded.
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