September 17, 2007

The Audiology Foundation of America (AFA) has developed a program called "Dollars for Doctors" that allows clinical service programs to redirect their hearing aid Business Development Funds (BDF) to educational scholarships, student mentoring, and externship stipends.

The AFA reports that numerous clinical service facilities that are unable to use their BDF monies for ethical or legal reasons and in response, the organization obtained legal and accounting opinions that determined the use of these funds, when approved by the facility, is an allowable charitable deduction.

According to the AFA Web site, since the funds have been accrued by the manufacturers, the question of ethics is relevant only if the funds are used to enrich the facility. The redirection of the Business Development Funds costs nothing to the clinics that now have thousands of unused dollars accumulating in their hearing aid manufacturers’ accounts, the AFA reports, and in most cases, there is no restriction on how the monies can be used.

The organization went on to say that by applying these unused funds to the AFA "Dollars for Doctors" Program, the monies would be used to fund scholarships for AuD students in residential programs and provide much needed stipends for 4th-year externships. Funds will also be available for general student support programs including the recruitment of qualified students to audiology and continued student mentoring.

Facilities that donate BDF monies to this program would realize an immediate benefit from their contribution, the AFA reports, and by providing scholarships to support the profession, graduate programs will be able to attract and retain high-quality, dedicated students. The issue of supporting 4th-year externships at individual sites would also be resolved since funds would be made available for living expenses. Dollars for Doctors would increase the pool of quality externs who could fill an externship or staff position at a participating BDF fund facility, according to the AFA.

For further information about the program contact Kim Williams: [email protected].

Source: Audiology Foundation of America