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What They Didn't Tell Me In Grad School (formerly " Are

DZAPALA dzapala at aol.com
Tue Sep 16 22:32:55 EST 1997

In a recent post, Paul Woodard wrote:

>If you change the laws to
>eliminate "dual licensure" and allow two licensing boards to oversee
>separate groups of dispensers (one board for audiologist dispensers and
>another board for traditional HAD dispensers), you will ALWAYS have two
>groups dispensing in your state. It is almost impossible politically to
>get rid of any licensing board. In other words, the audiologists in that
>state could never get the legislature to discontinue the hearing aid
>dealer licensing board because the legislators belong to the same
>Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, etc. Clubs and the same churches, etc. that the
>hearing aid dealers belong to and they are NOT going to go against their
>dispensing under one board and slowly move toward licensing only
>audiologists as "hearing aid dealers." 

There is another way to approach Licensing Audiologists and Hearing Aid
despensors.   In Tennessee, we first updated our licensure law so that
hearng aid despensing is part fo the legal definition of the practice of
audiology.   This exempted audiologists from hearing aid board oversite and
is consistent with my own vision of what audiology is.  What happened next?
 The Hearing aid board lost over 50% of its licensees and was still
required by law to be self sustaining.  Since (to my knowlege) all of the
investigative work was for claims against hearing aid despensors, they had
to fund the same amount of investigative activities with less than 1/2 the
resources.  In short they were not self sustaining.  The very next year
they opened our licensure law in an effort to "merge the boards"  However,
they were not in a good position to negotiate.   I think we actually did a
very noble thing (we could have let them go into the great sunset,).  We
noted that hearing aid despensing is part of the practice of audiology, yet
it would be inappropriate for hearing aid despensors to make sit on a board
that oversees infant hearing testing or surgical monitoring.  Rather, we
proposed that the hearig aid dealers be placed under the audiology board in
the form of a "counsel."  The audiology board had oversite over the
counsel, but the counsel was free to carry on its day to day duties
monitoring its membership.  Oh, they also still had to be self sustaining,
but now we share administrative costs - so we both come out ahead.   For
their part, the hearing aid dealers made it more difficult to become a
hearing aid dealer by requiring some college coursework and "B??-HIS" 
So now they are protected from the "failed car sales person turned hearing
aid sales person".   

I think this is a very elegant approach.  I think it is very important
that we seize our heritage in aural rehabilitation - which includes hearing
aid selection and fitting as  a very important component.   We should not
shy away from this because the fight is difficult.  If we don't promote
ourselves, who will?

This is a good thread to follow.  My complements to all who have participated.

David Zapala

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