In 2005, the American Medical Association (AMA) decided to review 10 health-care professions including audiologists, dentists, naturopaths, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, podiatrists and psychologists. The AMA stated the decision to review these professions was based on their concern that they were expanding their “scope of practice” at the risk of potential harm to the public. The AMA intended the documents created, titled the “Scope of Practice Data Series,” to be used as advocacy tools to inform legislators, government regulatory bodies, and other governmental decision-makers.
The AMA Scope of Practice Data Series on Audiologists was released in the summer of 2009. The Academy assembled the AMA Response Task Force to examine the document. The task force carefully reviewed the document and found numerous inaccuracies, misstatements, and falsehoods that were not reflective of the profession of audiology. In October 2009, the task force submitted their final report to the Academy Board of Directors. This report is included in it’s entirety in the Scope of Practice Tool Kit below. The tool kit was created to supplement the task force’s document and to support Academy members and/or state audiology associations with information that may assist when an infringement on the audiology Scope of Practice occurs, or when misinformation from the AMA’s Scope of Practice Data Series is referenced in opposition to an audiology initiative.
Also included in the tool kit is a Scope of Practice Statement developed by the Academy, last revised in 2004, that provides guidance on the types of services provided by audiologists and the populations served. Audiologists are independent practitioners, licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A strict Code of Ethics that assures the well-being of the patient will be held paramount also binds audiologists. It is the Academy’s contention that physicians should not define the scope of practice of the profession of audiology.
We hope this tool kit will assist members and state audiology associations with materials that will aid in educating legislators, regulatory bodies and other public policy makers about the profession of audiology and its scope of practice.