Academy displaces ASHA as the voice of audiology on a crucial AMA panel

RESTON, VA–The American Medical Association (AMA) announced on June 23 that it has selected the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) to serve on its Current Procedural Terminology/Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee. The CPT/HCPAC is a panel of specialty societies charged with facilitating the review and development of applications for CPT codes used by qualified non-physician health care professionals.

AMA’s decision is a significant victory for AAA, which had worked for years to represent audiology on that panel. Until now, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has been the voice of both speech-language pathology and audiology on the CPT/HCPAC

In a statement issued after being notified of AMA’s decision, Cheryl Kreider Carey, AAA’s executive director, called it “truly a game-changing success.” She added that “it has been the academy’s position that audiology and speech pathology are two separate professions that deserve distinct representation.” AMA’s policy change is an acknowledgment that it agrees with that position.

Carey said, “This monumental success is the result of the many years of hard work by members of the Practice Policy Advisory Council (PPAC): Brad Stach (chair), Paul Pessis, Kadyn Williams, Alan Desmond, as well as Erin Miller and Annette Burton, who serve as ex-officio on the council, and the academy leadership and staff.”

She added, “The countless hours they have devoted to this cause and the thousands of miles they have traveled over the years to achieve this goal are owed our deepest gratitude. This would not have been possible without their dedication and persistence.”

The academy’s long campaign reached a critical juncture earlier this month when Stach and Williams presented the case to the AMA Panel for why audiology deserves a unique vote. Evidently, their presentation proved persuasive.

In an e-mail interview this afternoon, asked Brad Stach the significance of his organization’s success in this matter. Stach, who was the founding secretary-treasurer of AAA and a former president, said, “The work of the AMA’s CPT Panel is important to audiology, as it is to all healthcare professions. We think it is important to have the profession of audiology represented by an organization whose primary focus is audiology, and we were delighted that the panel voted to add a seat at the table for the American Academy of Audiology.”