Public News Releases

Please e-mail us at info@ilaudiology.org to obtain press releases regarding other ILAA or audiology topics.
  • 07/24/2017 11:20 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    June 2017:

    ILAA Member's pose questions regarding Hearing Aid Leasing in the State of Illinois. ILAA posed this question to the Illinois Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection Program: How is the leasing of hearing aid's addressed by the state? 

    “The HICPA does indicate that a lease falls within the definition of the terms “sell” or “sale”.  See Section 225 ILCS 50/3 Definitions as follows:

     

     "Sell" or "sale" means any transfer of title or of the right to use by lease, bailment, or any other contract, 

    excluding wholesale transactions with distributors or dealers. So a lease transation must meet the requirements set for a sales

    transaction". 


    In other words, audiologists will still need the 30-day business return privilege, medical clearance or medical waiver and State required sales receipt.


    For information on the Illinois Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection program and its requirements, go to


    http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/vision-hearing/hearing-instrument-consumer

    -protection-program.


    If ILAA members have any further questions, please have them forwarded to

    governmentaffairs@ILAudiology.org.






     



  • 11/18/2016 4:04 PM | Deleted user

    On November 17th, the U.S. Senate passed, H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015 by unanimous consent. This bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 12, 2016, and is expected to be signed into law by the President. While the legislation includes a provision that would recognize hearing aid specialists for appointment under the VA, it specifically requires that hearing aid specialists provide services within their scope of practice related to the practice of fitting and dispensing of hearing aids, and under a treatment plan of an audiologist. 

    The passage of H.R. 3471 and the DOL decision represent the culmination of efforts by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), to prevent hearing aid dispensers from inappropriately expanding their job functions and duties both within the VA system and on the state level. Today marks a great victory for audiologists as we continue to ensure our patients receive access to high quality audiologic care!

    Full press release on the ADA website by clicking here. 

  • 02/08/2016 6:49 PM | Anonymous



    A Message From The
     


    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has enhanced its website to enable licensees to update their contact information at anytime. The Department will be using email as a primary notification method for license renewal notifications and other important notifications in the future. The Department is also researching using automated call technology for future licensee notifications. As a result of these new initiatives, it is critical that the Department has the primary email address and phone number for all licensees.

    The Department respectfully requests that you share the instructions below with the Illinois Academy of Audiology. This will help ensure that the Department has up-to-date primary email addresses and phone numbers for all licensees.

    To submit or update your phone number, email address, or address please follow the instructions below:

    1. Go to: www.IDFPR.com/AddressUpdate.asp (This is the same page where licensees may request paper reprints of their licenses.)

    2. Click the link at the top of the screen that says, ‘Click Here to request a License Reprint or to Change your Address, Email Address or Telephone Number.’ 

    3. Select your profession in the first dropdown box.

    4. Make sure that ‘Change/Verify Address & Contact Info’ is selected in the ‘reprint reason’ dropdown box.

    5. Enter your licensee number, US social security number, and date of birth.

    6. Click ‘Search.’

    7. Once your information has been found, it will be displayed and updates can be made to phone number, email, and address fields.

    8. Make the desired updates and click ‘Save’ to lock them in the system.



  • 02/01/2016 7:09 PM | Anonymous












    Illinois Speech Pathology and Audiology Practice Act 
    is Scheduled to Sunset January 1, 2018

    Our practice act is scheduled to be repealed (sunset) on January 1, 2018. As a result, ILAA will begin to explore the Act and Rules and spearhead the extension of our Practice Act. This work must be accomplished in 2016 for an early 2017 introduction. It is at this time that we can make modifications to the Act. Some potential modifications that are being discussed are related to:

    • Scope of practice
    • Continuing education
    • Telemedicine
    • Standards of care
    • Use of audiology assistants

    ILAA will be forming a taskforce to undertake this legislative effort. We strongly encourage any ILAA member who is interested in being involved to volunteer for the group. All members are welcome. If you are interested in being engaged in this process, please email Kim Cavitt, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, at GovernmentAffairs@ILAudiology.org. We plan to first convene the taskforce in within the next month.

    News from Springfield and Our Lobbying Firm

    HFS (Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services or Medicaid) continues to process bills to the Comptroller. While there are no holds on Medicaid bills at the agency level, cash flow continues to cause delays in payments to providers. Expedited providers are generally being paid within 30 days of HFS receiving a bill. MCOs (Managed Medicaid Programs administered by private insurers) have been paid the November capitation payment, so providers should be receiving payments through MCOs in a timely manner. A $1.28 billion backlog of HFS bills remains at the Comptroller's office due to cash flow. (This does not include MCOs.) 

    Managed Medicaid programs (MCOs) have reached a 60% penetration rate and is expected to be at 66% by June 30th. Together for Health, is no longer providing care.

    The State continues to revalidate Medicaid providers, with more than 300,000 providers in the pipeline. Due to the backlog, the time period for re-evaluation has been extended from March to June.

    HFS will be working to develop specific pay-for-performance measures for MCOs. These would be PQRS-like measures. The Department has met with the MCO plans and will make the process transparent through the Quality Care Subcommittee. 2015 performance measure results will not be available until mid-2016. At this point these measures only appear to apply to primary care physicians.

    New Hearing Instrument Specialist Regulations
    Went Into 
    Effect on January 1, 2016

    The Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection Act was extended, effective January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2026.

    You can view the Act by clicking here.

    The key changes are:

    • Requires that the Department of Public Health use the International Hearing Society's licensure exam in licensing hearing instrument dispensers. Provides that the Department of Public Health determine an exam administration fee by rule to add to the exam fee of the International Hearing Society.

    • Requires that licensed hearing instrument dispensers earn at least one hour of continuing education credit in Illinois law and ethics. Provides that continuing education offered by a college, university, or bar association, the International Hearing Society, the Illinois Academy of Audiology, or the Illinois Hearing Society regarding Illinois law and ethics shall be accepted toward satisfaction of this continuing education requirement.

    • Allows for changes to reciprocity in licensure. The Department shall issue a license to any hearing instrument dispenser who (i) has been certified by the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences and has been actively practicing for a minimum of 5 years or (ii) has a valid license as a hearing instrument dispenser, or its equivalent, from another state that has an examination that is comparable to the examination required under this Act or is provided by the International Hearing Society, (iii) has completed the specific academic and training requirements, or their equivalent, under this Act, (iv) has been actively practicing as a hearing instrument dispenser for at least 3 months or is certified by the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences, and (v) has paid the required fee.

    Hearing Aid Mandate Legislation in the State Legislature

    SB0097/HB2709 are current proposed pieces of legislation currently being considered in the Illinois General Assembly. These bills state:

    “Amends the Illinois Insurance Code, the Voluntary Health Services Plans Act, and the Voluntary Health Services Plans Act to require coverage for hearing instruments and related services for minors when a hearing care professional prescribes a hearing instrument. Provides that an insurer shall provide coverage for up to $2,500 per hearing aid per insured's hearing-impaired ear subject to certain restrictions. Provides that an insurer shall not be required to pay a claim if the insured filed such a claim 36 months prior to the date of filing the claim with the insurer and the claim was paid by any insurer.”

    These bills are currently in their respective Rules committees. ILAA will closely monitor these pieces of legislation and reach out to their chief sponsors in the Illinois House and Senate for additional guidance. We will keep you abreast on the status of these bills.

    Complaints Regarding Hearing Instrument
    Specialists and Audiologists

    There have been some concerns expressed some concerns regarding the practices of other providers, specifically hearing instrument specialists.

    Both the Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection Act and Rules and the Speech Pathology and Audiology Practice Act and Rules are consumer protection laws. Each govern a respective profession. When these laws are violated, individuals have the right to file complaints. Complaints take six to 12 months to be reviewed and processed.

    In Illinois, a “Hearing instrument dispenser" means a person who is a hearing care professional that engages in the selling, practice of fitting, selecting, recommending, dispensing, or servicing of hearing instruments or the testing for means of hearing instrument selection or who advertises or displays a sign or represents himself or herself as a person who practices the testing, fitting, selecting, servicing, dispensing, or selling of hearing instruments. Also, the "Practice of fitting, dispensing, or servicing of hearing instruments" means the measurement of human hearing with an audiometer, calibrated to the current American National Standard Institute standards, for the purpose of making selections, recommendations, adaptions, services, or sales of hearing instruments including the making of earmolds as a part of the hearing instrument”.

    It is vital that we educate ourselves on the regulations that govern hearing aid dispensing and audiology in the state. Links to the regulations are listed below.

    The Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection Act and Code: http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/vision-hearing/hearing-instrument-consumer-protection-program

    The Illinois Speech Pathology and Audiology Practice Act and Rules: http://www.idfpr.com/profs/SpeechLangAudio.asp

    If you have concrete evidence of a hearing instrument specialist is performing any of the procedures listed below, you may have cause to file a complaint against the provider or business entity:

    • Tinnitus evaluation
    • Tinnitus management
    • Cerumen removal
    • Aural rehabilitation
    • Auditory prosthetic device candidacy determination
    • Auditory prosthetic device programming
    • Tympanometry/immittance testing
    • Diagnostic hearing testing (not for the purpose of making selections, recommendations, adaptions, services or sales of hearing instruments)

    Complaints against other providers can be filed with these entities:

    The Illinois Academy of Audiology (ILAA) can assist its members with questions about the complaint process. Please contact ILAA Executive Director Brian S. Bailey at  Brian@ILAudiology.org

    Government Relations Wants You

    Any ILAA member who is interested in being involved in the Governmental Affairs Committee, please contact Kim Cavitt at GovernmentAffairs@ILAudiology.org. All members are welcome!



      Don't forget to "like" ILAA on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ILAAudiology


      Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ILAudiology

      


     



    __
    ILLINOIS ACADEMY OF AUDIOLOGY
    The Voice of Audiology in Illinois
    Phone: (630) 833-4220
    E-Mail: Info@ILAudiology.org
    Web: www.ILAudiology.org
    275 N. York Street, Suite 401
    Elmhurst, IL 60126-2752







  • 12/09/2015 10:31 PM | Anonymous



    Session update

    December 2015

    Illinois Academy of Audiology

    By:       Jessica Nardulli & Tom Ryder

    Legislative Leaders met with the Governor

    The Legislative Leaders of each chamber of the General Assembly have met with Governor Rauner twice this month. Before these meetings, they had not met as a group since May. There was very little expectation that these meetings would produce any compromises, let alone an agreement on the budget, but the fact that they are talking is progress. Illinois is now into the sixth month of the fiscal year without a budget.

    Leading Democrats in the Illinois statehouse oppose key elements in the governor’s proposed agenda as going against both parties’ core principals. Republicans deny this claim. During public remarks prior to the first meeting, House Speaker Michael Madigan reiterated measures the governor is advocating to allow local governments to circumvent prevailing wage or collective bargaining are contrary to his core principles “because the advocacy of these issues by the governor would reduce wages and the standard of living for the middle class families and force injured workers to welfare and the emergency room.” But leading GOP Senator Christine Radogno said Republicans also have core principles and Madigan is mischaracterizing the opposition to reforms.

    We are hearing Speaker Madigan has dug in his heels and is unwilling to negotiate. During these private meetings, he sits and does not speak. Until the Speaker and the Governor come to an agreement, Illinois will continue without a budget.

    Practically, due to court orders and continuing appropriations, Illinois has been spending money at approximately 80% to 85% of last year’s budget. Last year’s budget was $4 billion out of balance and also included a 5% income tax, not the 3.5% income tax we currently pay. As a result, Illinois is currently spending more money than it is taking in, even without a budget. For a while, it was anticipated that we would have a budget agreement by January. Now it isn’t looking like there will be an agreement until after the March primaries, at the earliest. Some are so pessimistic as to suggest there will not be a budget for this fiscal year.

    Governor Rauner signed a small funding bill

    A bill to get some tax money into the hands of local governments and pay lottery winners sailed through the Senate on Monday and gained the governor’s almost-immediate signature. By a vote of 53-0, the Senate gave its nod to House amendments to Senate Bill 2039, sending the measure to the governor’s office, which then announced Gov. Bruce Rauner had signed it.

    While the state remains without an overall budget, the bill does authorize $3.1 billion in spending. It includes about $2 billion in purpose-collected cash for costs such as local road work, 911 centers and the like. It frees up the local shares of video gaming and riverboat casino money. Further, the legislation authorizes $1 billion to pay state lottery players, who’ve had to accept vouchers for winnings larger than $600. Additionally, the measure authorizes the use of about $28 million from the state’s general funds to pay for items including energy bill assistance for the needy.

    Senate Bill 2039 also covers certain state government costs, most notably for the secretary of state. That office handles major, statewide services such as driver and vehicle licensing and processes volumes of sensitive data. Secretary Jesse White’s staff had warned of lapses in cyber-security should the state be unable to meet its obligations to tech vendors and they were to stop providing services. Among other things, the bill also helps fund the operations of Illinois State Police and the agency’s crime labs, as well as to pay for certain statewide police and fire training and shared services.

  • 10/20/2015 2:42 AM | Anonymous

    PRESS RELEASE


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                   Media inquiries? Please contact:
    Illinois Academy of Audiology
    Brian S. Bailey, Executive Director
    1 (800) 963-ILAA (4522) Phone
    Info@ILAudiology.org    E-Mail
    www.ILAudiology.org    Web


    36+ million American adults experience some degree of hearing loss.
    That is over 13 times the number of Chicago residents.


    Elmhurst, IL (October 19, 2015) – The statistics are even more shocking knowing over half are under the age of 65. Hearing loss is an increasing health concern in the United States and is often preventable. In response to the growing number of Americans suffering from hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology, in conjunction with Illinois Academy of Audiology (ILAA), is encouraging those with hearing concerns to see an audiologist this October during National Audiology Awareness Month.


    Have you stopped going to restaurants and social gatherings? Do you avoid noisy environments and crowded rooms?  If you answered yes, you may have a hearing problem. Seeing an audiologist for regular hearing screenings and recognizing the signs of hearing loss can protect your hearing. Some signs of hearing loss include trouble hearing conversation in a noisy environment such as restaurants, difficulty or inability to hear people talking to you without looking at them, and/or a constant pain or ringing or buzzing in your ears.


    If you think you may have hearing loss, the first step in treatment of a hearing problem is to be evaluated by an audiologist.
    An audiologist is a licensed and clinically experienced health-care professional who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders. Audiologists have a variety of specialties and can augment their base training in pediatric audiology or vestibular sciences, for example. An audiologist’s hearing evaluation will determine the degree of hearing loss you have and what can be done moving forward.


    As a free online resource, ILAA offers a searchable list of its members by city, specialty, etc. to the public. Find your local Illinois-based audiologist today by visiting: www.ILAudiology.org/FindYourILAudiologist.


    The Illinois Academy of Audiology (ILAA), "The Voice of Audiology in Illinois," was founded in November 1992 to be the organization of, by, and for audiologists in Illinois. Audiologists are professionals who are university-trained and licensed to identify, evaluate, and treat disorders of hearing and balance. ILAA members are professional audiologists with a minimum educational requirement of a Master's degree. The licensed audiologists that make up ILAA membership have passed a comprehensive national examination and are licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to practice audiology and dispense hearing aids within the state. Our mission is to enhance our ability to prevent, identify, and treat the needs of hearing impaired individuals of all ages by pursuing activities in patient care, public education, and continuing education. We hope to address all of your hearing health care concerns. 

  • 09/04/2015 12:25 PM | Anonymous

    å

    September 2015 Update

    In this issue:


    Illinois’ Audiology License Renewal Due Date is October 31, 2015

    Renew today! Don’t forget that your license expires October 31, 2015. Audiologists are regulated by the state Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology with our licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).


    Click here to renew your license today or use the following link: https://goo.gl/Aq2xdF
    Also, an employer can register all of its employees at once online. E-Batch renewals are only to be used by businesses to renew licenses for their employees. It requires the completion of an E-Batch User Agreement. Click here for more information on E-Batch or use the following link: https://goo.gl/T1qKvq.

    According to Eric Eizinger of IDFPR Secretary Bryan Schneider’s office, the Department’s newly improved website is now live and has been updated based on the feedback of many and enhanced to better serve the public. The website address has not changed and is still www.IDFPR.com. The website enhancements reflect the Department’s focus on being responsive, innovative, transparent, and efficient. The website is mobile-friendly and contains direct tabs to each Division. In addition to containing a visible search tool, the website also contains new quick links for users to fill out a new licensing application, look up licensed professionals throughout the State, renew their professional licenses, and file a complaint with the appropriate Divisions within the Department. Interested in helping IDFPR continue to improve their website? Please participate in the following survey by clicking here or use the following link: https://goo.gl/YR7fUo.

    Audiology News in Illinois

    Session Update: September 4, 2015


    Submitted by:   Tom Ryder & Jessica Nardulli, registered lobbyists with WThomas Ryder, Ltd., a professional corporation

                      

    What’s going on in Springfield? A battle of political wills between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the longtime head of the state’s Democratic Party, Michael Madigan. The General Assembly has met in “continuous session” since the scheduled adjournment date of May 31st – which means legislators have come to Springfield one or two days a week for a smattering of weeks.

    One thing is certainly NOT “going on” – the budget – and there is no sign of a budget deal anytime soon. The General Assembly and the Governor have not agreed on a budget for FY16, which began July 1st. Due to continuing appropriations and court orders, the state continues to spend unappropriated FY16 funds without a final FY16 budget. Life has gone on pretty much as normal. Public schools will get their money and have opened on time. State-run offices, such as the DMV, are keeping normal hours. Retirees are getting their pension checks. Mass transit is still operating. And the courts have ordered that funding continue for many human service programs, such as Medicaid. Even higher education has been able to minimize the impact of no state funds by honoring students’ MAP grant awards and moving money around. The result? There is no real sense of urgency to strike a compromise. 

    According to recent calculations, the state is obligated to pay 89.4% of expected expenses of $38.7 billion at our current spending level. That means Illinois is spending at roughly the old rate, even though tax revenue is coming in at the new, lower rate. General funds revenues in FY16 are projected at between $32 billion and $33 billion, depending on the level of federal funding. That is a $6 billion hole! As of September 4, the Comptroller’s office estimates the state’s current unpaid bill backlog at $5,256,826,990 – and we’re barely two months into the fiscal year. With only $195 million in cash on hand to pay bills, the cash flow is not available to fulfill the court-ordered obligations on a daily basis. 

    In one of the more epic showdowns between Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan, the House took a vote to override the governor’s veto of a key labor bill. Gov. Rauner claimed a victory when Speaker Madigan was unable to get the 71 votes he needed to override the governor’s veto. The bill would have required binding arbitration for an impasse in state employee union negotiations and prevented a strike or lockout of state workers. Republicans argued the bill was designed to protect the status quo from the consequences of last year’s election by removing the governor from the negotiating table. But it wasn’t just the union bill that went down. Numerous override motions failed, including a bill designed to reverse the governor’s 90% cut to child care services.

    Due to the irregularity of this “continuous” summer session, Tom and I continue to be vigilant. We are keeping a close eye on every bill and amendment every single day to ensure your interests are protected. Outside of Medicaid, we have not heard any discussions of anything that will impact members of the ILAA now or in the near future.

    By the way, a new law makes changes to the Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection Act. Senate Bill 731, sponsored by Senator Iris Martinez and Representative Will Guzzardi and signed by the Governor, extends the sunset of the Hearing Instrument Consumer Protection Act for another ten years and prohibits a hearing instrument manufacturer from providing hearing instruments to any unlicensed hearing care professional for the purpose of selling them to a consumer.  

    The bill also improves the licensing standards for those involved in providing hearing instruments to consumers by providing the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) flexibility in authorizing and conducting licensing examinations. Specifically, IDPH currently uses a paper-copy licensure exam, which is distributed and reviewed by hand. Before SB 731, IDPH’s licensure practice only permitted 20-25 test openings every couple months. Now, IDPH can utilize the International Hearing Society’s online licensure exam.

    Additionally, hearing instrument dispenses must obtain a minimum of two hours of continuing education on Illinois law and ethics per licensing period. The ILAA is included as an acceptable provider of the continuing education requirement.

    This was an initiative of the Illinois Hearing Society and was negotiated with the ILAA, IDPH and the Illinois Speech Language Hearing Association. There were no changes to the dispensers’ scope of practice.

    National Audiology News

    ADA Requests DOL Rescission of Certification for IHS Apprenticeship Program

    The International Hearing Society (IHS) recently announced that it has received certification, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), for new National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (National Guideline Standards) for the occupation of Hearing Aid Specialists.
     

    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.

    Continue reading this article by clicking here or using the following link: http://goo.gl/EHQ7hR

               

    ADA Opposes ‘Fit to Serve’ Legislation

     

    In light of new information, regarding the perils of the IHS Apprenticeship Program, ADA now believes that the Veterans Hearing Aid Access and Assistance Act (also known in the audiology community as ‘Fit to Serve’), conceived and shepherded by IHS, is merely another mechanism for gaining federal recognition in order to improperly expand the scope of practice for hearing aid specialists.

     

    ADA firmly believes that hearing aid specialists have the right to dispense hearing aids to veterans as is consistent with their current state defined scope of practice. We have no desire to unduly restrict their existing scope of practice. However, we will remain vigilant in our opposition to initiatives that could pose patient harm through unwarranted recognition and scope expansion by hearing aid specialists at the federal or state level.

    Continuing reading this article by clicking here or using the following link: http://goo.gl/fH4ktq

      


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