ada_vs_ihs

ADA Asks Dept of Labor to Rescind Approval of Hearing Aid Specialist Apprenticeship Program

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), in an announcement late last month, have asked the Department of Labor (DOL) to rescind its approval of the IHS-backed Hearing Aid Specialist Apprenticeship program.

ADA Firm in Opposition

While it’s no surprise that ADA announced opposition to the Fit to Serve initiative, joining with other major audiology organizations who have come out in opposition to the legislation{{1}}[[1]]9/9/15: This blog previously reported in an earlier version of this article that ADA had publicly opposed the Fit to Serve legislation in the past, however, this was incorrect. ADA has never previously held a formal position on the Fit to Serve legislation until this latest announcement[[1]], the strong opposition to the IHS-backed apprenticeship program recently approved by the Department of Labor (DOL) is not sitting well with IHS members.

In a newsletter sent to its members last week, obtained by this blog, IHS explained its frustration with ADA’s position and requested that its members remain “vigilant” and await forthcoming calls to action by the organization.

Message to IHS members from its 'SoundBoard' newsletter
Message send to IHS members last week.

The reasoning for the strong opposition, according to a statement put out by ADA, is due to a fear that Federal recognition and approval of the apprenticeship program would encourage hearing aid specialists to perform work outside of their licensed scope of practice:

“The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), upon researching the program, discovered that the Standards of Apprenticeship submitted by IHS to the DOL contain a description of the occupation of hearing aid specialist (HAS) within a Work Process Schedule that could encourage HAS apprentices and journey workers to perform services and procedures that are clearly outside the allowable scope of practice and licensure for services of HAS’s in any state” 

Beyond its own membership, ADA has also actively sought allies among state audiology organizations across the country to push the DOL to revoke its approval of the HAS apprenticeship program:

“We strongly encourage you to evaluate your states’ current audiology and hearing aid laws and rules, determine the legality of this type of program in your state, and closely monitor any legislative or administrative (through the rules process) actions by your state hearing aid licensure board and/or IHS state chapter.   If you ultimately have concerns about this program within the construct of your current laws, we recommend you lodge a formal complaint with the US Department of Labor, your states’ attorney general’s office, your state audiology licensure board and your state hearing aid dispensing board.”

Will Disagreement Impact Ongoing Relations?

The long-term implications of the disagreements, if any, between ADA and IHS are unknown at this point. It’s been noted that the two organizations have been working more closely in the past few years than at any other time in recent memory, including the upcoming Unison Hearing Health Global Summit scheduled to take place in the fall of 2016.

Clearly, IHS is not happy that ADA is taking such a strong stance against two of their most important initiatives in recent years.

Organizations Provide Reaction

According to ADA’s Executive Director, Stephanie Czuhajewski, ADA and IHS each serve unique members and missions.

“There is a rich history of differing and sometimes conflicting perspectives within the hearing healthcare community. As such, there may always be issues on which we disagree, but we also share an incredible amount of common ground. It is in that common ground where Unison is planted. We look forward to working with IHS and all other stakeholders to bring diverse ideas together to grow Unison into a world-class educational program.” –Stephanie Czuhajewski, CAE, ADA Executive Director

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Stephanie Czuhajewski, CAE, ADA Executive Director

Czuhajewski added, “ADA and IHS each serve unique members and missions. As such, there may always be issues on which we disagree, but we also share an incredible amount of common ground. It is in that common ground where Unison is planted. We look forward to working with IHS and all other stakeholders to bring diverse ideas together to grow Unison into a world-class educational program.”

“There is a big difference between collaboration and consensus— and it is collaboration without consensus that often brings to bear real innovation. Like marketing guru, Seth Godin, says ‘Nothing is what happens when everyone has to agree.’ Unison is about making something amazing happen and I hope to see all of HHTM’s readers there, in Chicago, in September, 2016.”

 

 


1 Comment

  1. May I ask:

    “The reasoning for the strong opposition, according to a statement put out by ADA, is due to a fear that Federal recognition and approval of the apprenticeship program would encourage hearing aid specialists to perform work outside of their licensed scope of practice:”

    and why would a HA specialist want to perform work — etc., etc.? This sounds like a straw man argument to me.

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