By 2013-14 GAA President Gabe Pitt, Au.D.
Welcome to the Georgia Academy of Audiology’s (GAA) exciting 2013-2014 Year!
I first want to welcome back returning members of GAA – thank you for your continued support of this organization. I would also like to encourage those audiologists in our state who are not members to consider joining GAA, an association that has been fighting for audiologists for years! Many audiologists are unaware of all of the work the members of GAA do on behalf of all audiologists in our state. State level organizations like GAA have a direct impact on our profession because it is at the state level that we; acquire licensure to practice audiology, define our scope of practice, fight for the highest standards within our profession and protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. Our state academy has the most direct impact on how we practice as audiologists so the support of audiologists in our state is paramount to the continued strength of GAA.
There are many important issues GAA’s Board of Directors and Committees are currently working on, including:
- The Hearing Aid Coverage for Children Act – This bill (HB74) has been introduced by Rep. Ed Lindsey. If it passes and is signed into law as it is currently written, it will mandate insurance companies in the state to cover hearing aids for children. The mandate would require insurance companies to pay $2500 to $3000 per hearing aid every 3 years for children under the age of 22. Laws like this are currently in place in 22 other states and we are trying to catch Georgia up to the times. This is an extremely important bill that GAA has wholeheartedly endorsed. Of course there are opponents to this bill that have deep pockets and we need our full membership to help on this issue to help get this bill passed.
- Fighting over-the-counter and mail order dispensing of hearing aids – It is GAA’s stance that only face-to-face patient interaction in the fitting of hearing aids will ensure optimal patient success with hearing aids. Simply handing (or mailing) hearing aids to a patient and cutting out the personal interaction in the fitting process can lead to a higher dissatisfaction rate with amplification, degrade our profession, hurt consumers in our state. GAA is working on many fronts to ensure consumer protection by fighting these OTC and mail order hearing aid dispensaries.
- Annual Convention – last year’s convention was held on the campus of Georgia Tech and was one of highest attended conventions in GAA’s history. With presenters like Robert Sweetow, Gyl Kasewurm and Doug Beck, just to name a few, it was an excellent event! And this year’s convention is expected to be even better. Stay tuned for more…
GAA also has ongoing programs with strategic partners to loop Georgia with the Georgia Commission for the Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons and the Adopt a Band program to protect musicians’ hearing.
We again have an amazing dedicated Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and Committee Members working on behalf of all audiologists in Georgia; however, we have many ways you can also be involved in GAA. We have meaningful work to be conducted at the committee level. Please email us with the committee that you would like to join: Marketing & Publicity, Convention, Legislative, Membership, Archivist, Publications, or Continuing Education.
GAA needs your help to continue to be a viable voice for all audiologists in the state of Georgia. As you are aware, our profession is not only defined by federal laws and regulations but also by Georgia state licensure. We need audiologists to attend our Day at the Georgia Capitol: January 29, 2014. This day is extremely important to the advancement and protection of our profession in Georgia. Can you imagine the impact we would have if every one of you attended this day? Each additional audiologist who attends will directly impact our cause and the success of our endeavors. Please email me that you will join us as your attendance is very important and I would greatly appreciate the donation of your time on this day. Not only will your attendance be recognized and valued by your colleagues, you will be directly influencing your career by advancing our profession. National leaders say the profession of audiology is at a crossroads. It is time that we audiologists all get involved and take control of our own future. GAA will continue to monitor and keep you informed of state legislative activity that directly affects the day to day practice of audiology in Georgia.
Nationally, GAA works with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). With AAA GAA is seeking audiologists representing Georgia audiologists at the State Leader’s meeting and as a sub-committee of the Government Relations Committee. We still need additional audiologists for Key Contacts to Congress. Our goal is to have at least one audiologist for each of our 13 Representatives’ districts and our senators. Key contacts serve as the constituent voice on audiology in their district. This is an important role in helping our elected officials understand audiology related issues. We need personal involvement at the grassroots level to make a difference. Additionally, GAA works closely with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) as issues arise particularly involving the autonomous practice of audiology.
GAA has several worthwhile educational and networking opportunities for you to attend. Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming workshops. These are great CEU opportunities and it is a great way to network with colleagues.
Our Convention committee is in the process of lining up an awesome convention at The Georgia Tech Global Learning Center, a state-of-the-art facility on January 30 and 31, 2014. Please save the dates and plan to attend as this will be one convention you will not want to miss! You will be impressed with the quality of speakers and the education available at this convention.
Thank you for your continued support of GAA by being a member and your contributions such as attending the Capitol Day, attending the workshops and conventions, volunteering for committees, committee chairs and Board of Directors. Together we can advance the profession of audiology in Georgia and influence nationwide change.
I am looking forward to seeing you at this year’s upcoming events. The more members and volunteers we have the stronger and more influential our organization will be.
Gabriel J. Pitt, Au.D.
GAA President 2013-2014
MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT: The Georgia Academy of Audiology is a professional organization of audiologists and friends of the audiology community that promotes quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology through leadership, advocacy, education, public awareness, and support of research.*
The Georgia Academy of Audiology’s vision is to be essential in the professional lives of audiologists by:
• Advancing the science and practice of audiology, and
• Achieving public recognition of audiologists as experts in hearing and balance.
The Georgia Academy of Audiology shall be recognized as the professional organization for audiologists in the State of Georgia.
*We would like to acknowledge and thank the American Academy of Audiology for their inspiration in creating a mission statement that we have adapted for our state association.