September is here and with it change is in the air! This time of the year is my favorite for many reasons. The weather cools, the beautiful colors of fall will soon encompass the area where I live, and we say congratulations to new graduates of our AuD programs who begin their professional careers. We also welcome new students to our profession as they begin their professional journey to become doctors of audiology. These students will soon learn the impact audiologists have on the lives of individuals with hearing, tinnitus and balance disorders.
Like the seasons, change is a constant and an inevitable part of being in the health-care field. Proposed changes to a Medicare Rule that would reclassify osseointegrated implants (OIs) from prosthetic devices to hearing aids, thus eliminating coverage for many patients who cannot benefit from other technologies, has been a focus of our Coding and Reimbursement Committee over the past few months. Academy representatives have been involved in meetings with CMS and have provided final comments requesting the previous definition of OIs remain, that new technologies be considered as they become available, and that coverage continue for those patients with no other options for treatment.
The AudiologyNOW! 2015 Program Committee and staff have been hard at work since last spring. They are Steering with Success, as they develop a state-of-the-art educational program that will provide our members with new and innovative ideas to enhance their clinical and business practices. We’ve listened to you and your favorite events and functions will be back, but the committee is balancing that with some changes that will keep the largest gathering of audiologists in the world new, fresh, and fun! Mark your calendars and set your travel plans to meet with your colleagues and friends in San Antonio, March 25–28, 2015. Hope to see you there!
Perhaps the biggest change this fall is the selection of a new executive director to lead Academy operations. On September 2, 2014, the Board of Directors announced the hiring of Ms. Tanya Tolpegin, MBA, CAE, as the executive director of the association effective October 6, 2014. Ms. Tolpegin holds an MBA from the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business, a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering from UVA and is a certified association executive (CAE). She has held management and leadership positions in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and joins the Academy following six years as the executive director of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. The board is confident that Ms. Tolpegin’s experience will help make the Academy a stronger and more effective association that will continue to advance the profession of audiology.
These are just a few of the changes that have occurred over the past month or so. I recognize change is difficult for many people but audiologists do seem to adapt a bit more easily than others. Because we have experienced change in a variety of ways, our brains accept that change is something we can survive and in fact we can benefit from. Whether it’s a new group of students starting in our AuD programs, new software to enhance our patients ability to hear and utilize their technology fully, a piece of equipment we must learn in order to provide the most efficient diagnostic services to our patients, or a new member on our staff teams, all of these changes in some way require us to embrace the unknown. Change is the motivator for progress and I look forward to the changes that will help both the American Academy of Audiology and the profession progress.