September 13, 2007

The American Academy of Audiology recently expanded its advocacy efforts in Washington by purchasing an office townhouse that will house its government relations staff, strategically located just blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

“This is a monumental event for both our membership and the patients we serve,” academy president, Alison Grimes, AuD, says. “We are proud to be taking a more active role in both the political process as well as the community of Capitol Hill and the District of Columbia. We diagnose and treat patients with hearing disorders all over the world and it is imperative that we help Congress understand the important part we play in health care delivery,” Grimes adds.

The academy reports it expects to use this facility to reach out to the Capitol Hill community and offer assistance in identifying children, seniors and others with possible hearing disorders. “What better place than our nation’s capital to renew our efforts to educate the public on the importance of hearing health care,” Grimes asks. The academy states it will also utilize this new office to strengthen its relationships with lawmakers and patients.
The academy reportedly intends to make the public more aware of the organization’s public policy initiatives and is currently working to have Congress consider the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2007 introduced by Rep Mike Ross (D-AR). The legislation would allow much needed access to audiological services under Medicare.

“When Congress is searching for ways in which to provide more cost effective quality care measures, it is important they consider this legislation (H.R. 1665),” Grimes says.
According to a news release from the acadamy, the legislation is endorsed by virtually all of the nation’s consumer hearing health care organizations including the National Association of the Deaf, the Hearing Loss Association of America, the American Tinnitus Association, and the American Association of People with Disabilities.

“We are working to have Congress better understand the health care needs of patients as they approach their later years and require more access to quality care,” Grimes adds.

The Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 1665) currently has 54 co-sponsors and is awaiting Sen Tim Johnson (D-SD) to introduce the Senate companion bill in the near future. Having a specific understanding of the health care delivery system, Johnson is resolute in again leading the introduction of this important legislation in the Senate.

Source: American Academy of Audiology