Taking Audiology Issues to Capitol Hill Sending Lawmakers a Powerful Message Grassroots 101
Free
Grassroots 101  |   March 01, 2008
Taking Audiology Issues to Capitol Hill
Author Notes
  • Gina M Gomez, associate coordinator for Special Interest Division 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Children, is a pediatric audiologist with the Arlington, Virginia, public schools. Contact her at ggomez@arlington.va.k12.us. For more information about Division 9, visit the Division 9 Web page.
    Gina M Gomez, associate coordinator for Special Interest Division 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Children, is a pediatric audiologist with the Arlington, Virginia, public schools. Contact her at ggomez@arlington.va.k12.us. For more information about Division 9, visit the Division 9 Web page.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Grassroots 101
Grassroots 101   |   March 01, 2008
Taking Audiology Issues to Capitol Hill
The ASHA Leader, March 2008, Vol. 13, 5-7. doi:10.1044/leader.GR.13042008.5
The ASHA Leader, March 2008, Vol. 13, 5-7. doi:10.1044/leader.GR.13042008.5
Since the late 1990s I have had the honor of advocating for audiology issues. When ASHA’s governmental staff asked me last year to advocate on Capitol Hill, I gladly accepted.
Although I had made similar Capitol Hill visits in the past, this time I encouraged my colleague Amy Goodwine to join me in taking our professional issues to federal legislators. Last November we met with the health legislative assistants of Virginia senators James Webb (D) and John Warner (R). In addition, we met with the assistants to two of Virginia’s U.S. representatives, James Moran (R) and Thomas Davis (D).
Together we sent lawmakers a powerful message on key issues that affect audiology. We discussed the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act of 2007 and the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act. In addition, we stressed the importance of locating a leading Republican to be an original co-sponsor for the Direct Access to Audiologists bill.
Preparing for the visits did not interfere with our professional demands, thanks to the assistance of ASHA’s government relations and public policy (GRPP) division. GRPP staffers scheduled the visits and provided background information.
Join the Effort
The importance of early detection, diagnosis, and timely intervention for children with hearing loss cannot be overstated. The standard-of-care timeline, as stated in the Joint Committee on Hearing Year 2007 Position Statement, should be supported strongly to allow newborns the opportunity to achieve normal or near-normal language, psychological, and academic development. Better known as the “1-3-6” rule, it calls for newborns screened by 1 month; infants with hearing loss identified and using amplification by 3 months; and infants with hearing loss enrolled in early intervention programs by 6 months.
Although newborn hearing screenings have increased, reportedly only about 40% of newborns who fail or miss the newborn hearing screening return for follow-up testing. Unfortunately, this gap results in a significant number of children who do not receive timely and/or appropriate services. It is imperative that audiologists help Congress understand the importance of the profession in health care delivery.
I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to take an active role in the political process and on Capitol Hill. As an audiologist who works in a public school, I know that if legislators—who are responsible for determining funding priorities—are not aware of Americans’ audiological needs, then it is more difficult for students to get appropriate services.
If we do not speak out about the importance of our work and/or the effect we have on our students and clients, how will anyone know how valuable audiologists are? Creating best practices for audiologists is important; explaining those policies to legislators is equally important.
More than 28 million Americans—or one in every 10—is affected by hearing loss, a number expected to increase to 78 million by the year 2030. Advocacy ensures that public policies represent the rights and best interests of patients, consumers, and the professions. Please consider joining the effort in supporting our profession—ASHA’s legislative staff is ready to assist you!
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
March 2008
Volume 13, Issue 4