Keynote Address and Other Sessions Focus on Doing
Ethical Business

“People want justice these days,” said keynote speaker Frank C. Bucaro, opening the 27th annual ADA conference in Palm Springs. “Just look at Martha Stewart. Or Enron. When it comes to doing business in an ethical way, there is no longer any excuse. Business is being held accountable more than ever, and we all have to pay attention to how we operate our businesses.”

 With those words, Bucaro, who holds a certified speaking professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker’s Association, grabbed the attention of the general session’s standing-room only crowd and used a blend of stand-up comedy and insightful anecdotes to get across his message, “Taking the High Road: How to Succeed Ethically When Others Bend the Rules.”

Bucaro touched on a number of ethics-related topics, always coming back to his main theme: “Ethics is honesty in action.” Using a humorous delivery, he discussed how, with so much diversity in current business and professional practices, that there is no universal agreement on interpretation of ethical standards, which obviously makes for a confused sense of ethical responsibility in the hearing health care industry.

Bucaro also led a panel later in the day, “Ethos in Audiology,” that examined ethics from a number of different perspectives, including HIPAA compliance and how ethics relates to audiologists’ business, professional, and personal lives.

In both sessions, Bucaro pointed out that audiology is in a transition phase, becoming a doctoring profession. That means audiologists will be increasingly dealing with doing what is best for patients in addition to running a business. To that end, Bucaro stressed that ethical business is about relationship development, with each other and customers. And he repeated this mantra several times to sum up this thoughts: “Business is a partnership of people creating in many ways a better life for others as well as for themselves.”

The topic of ethics was also briefly touched on during a general session address by Cindy Ellison, AuD, convention chair and the incoming president of the ADA. Ellison talked about dispelling the retail myth of being a dispensing audiologist, and getting those in the industry to start thinking about doing business as part of the “health care” arena. w

26th ADA Convention Held In Palm Springs
Between the bright, leisure-inducing sunshine and the information-packed forums, there was plenty for attendees at the 26th annual convention of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA) to enjoy.

This year’s conference, which was held at the Riviera Resort in Palm Springs, Calif, on October 9-13, featured a wide variety of special educational sessions, in addition to more than 75 exhibitors in the main hall of the hotel.

With the theme of “Rock Your World,” the conference got off to a rocking start indeed with a standing ovation for ADA president Robert Manning’s address, followed by a dynamic lecture by keynote speaker Frank C. Bucaro (see sidebar) on ethics. Both presentations led into three days of panel discussions, general sessions, as well as theme events.

One of the conference’s highlights was a group discussion entitled, “Ethos in Audiology: The Distinguishing Character of Our Business, Professional, and Personal Lives.” Led by keynote speaker Bucaro, this well-attended session also included some well-regarded industry veterans, animatedly discussing the relationship of audiologists to the hearing aid industry. Speakers on the panel included Dennis Van Vliet, MA, Angela Loavenbruck, EdD, Bryan Liang, MD, Carole Rogin, executive director of the Hearing Industries Association, and David Fabry, PhD. Loavenbruck in particular told the audilogists in attendance to “examine their relationships” with the industry, and focus on character and ethically sound business practices.

Another popular session examined the role of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the industry. Titled, “Code Blue: Don’t Let Reimbursement Kill You,” this session was led by Paul Pessis, AuD, and Alan Freint, MD, and presented a wealth of information on this important legislation. The panel reviewed administrative simplification, fraud and abuse, national provider identifier, and purpose and use of medical waivers. Ultimately, those in attendance agreed that the legislation was certainly going to change the way they run their practices and do business.

In addition, a session on AuDNet, led by Dave Smriga from AuDNet, proved to be both entertaining and interesting. “Can this program revolutionize the industry and educate the public as to the value of the doctor of audiology?’ was the question he posed to the interested audience.

Another popular session was “Advertising to the Baby Boomer,” with Roger McGuire of AHAA (see his Sept. 2002 HR article, page 44). The conference also featured presentations on tinnitus, neuroplasticity, delivering exceptional customer service, labyrinthine oscillopsia, ampclusion, auditory processing disorders, otoacoustic emissions, the BHI physician referral program, and several other industry topics.

To round things off, a pool party, a cocktail party, silent auction, and art auction completed the social highlights of this year’s event.

The 27th ADA convention takes place next year on October 15-18 at the Sanibel Harbor Resort in Ft Myers, Fla.