I am writing regarding the cover story of your January 2012 issue “Audiologist Assistants May Alleviate the Workforce Squeeze.”
The title could very well have been “Audiologist above the actual work of Patient Services”
Or, “Audiologist too busy looking for another set of billable procedures to take care of Patient Services.”
Or, “Audiologists seek total control of the hearing aid, distribution system, without actually wanting, or having to handle them.”
All of the above titles would have been just as accurate as the one picked, as all of the PHD, or AUD contributors clearly had an agenda that included control over of all aspects of the hearing aid delivery process, without actually wanting to perform many of the tasks associated with the actual fitting and servicing of hearing aids themselves.
Too busy doing other, more important things was the message.
All of the services that actually dealt with the patient, from the taking of the pure tone testing, to the making of impressions, fitting and servicing of the hearing aids were to be done by these purposed assistants.
This article clearly indicated that the contributors saw themselves, as being above anything not dealing directly with, advanced diagnostics, or anything without a billing code. “I tell the patients form the beginning how our practice works, I’m the audiologist. I do the diagnostic work, the recommendation of technology and the hearing aid adjustments. But, if you come in for service, I will not be the one who provides that. We have people who are much more qualified than me to do that.” submitted Dr. Kasewurm.
The problem is that your article completely ignored the fact that there are already recognized training programs, validation, and credentialing for those who are in fact, more qualified to service what they sell. It is the qualified hearing aid dispenser, or audioprosthologist who provide all of these service from their own practices day in and day out around the country.
The fact that we do this without their advanced academic degrees, is what they seek to eliminate. And, the seek to do that, without actually doing what we do.
This article attempted to ignore this salient fact, instead promoting a totally subservient “assistants” position that requires the acquiescence, and supervision of an audiologist who clearly sees themselves as having much more important things to see to, like that next billable test. “When a patient comes back for a routing retest, the audiologist cannot bill Medicare, but if the technician screening shows a change in hearing, that’s enough to justify billing for a new audiogram.” submitted Dr Hamill of Nova Southeastern University.
Clearly, this indicates a dedication not to the service of the patient present, but rather to finding another way to bill a third party for their visit, in this case Medicare.
If, ever there was an argument against the medical model of dispensing, and how it drives up medical costs for us all, this article makes it.
The entire article is rife with an academic pomposity that absolutely refuses to recognize, excepting tangentially, that there already are qualified, licensed professionals performing most of the actual patient services now performed in a dispensing audiologists office.
Finding themselves too busy to actually perform the services needed in patient care, these academics want to hire assistants to work under them, to do the actual work that audioprosthologists, and hearing aids specialists already do, but without an audiologist's direct supervision, every day, all across the nation.
This entire article is about trying to control a process that apparently most audiologist find themselves above actually doing, yet none the less want to control, totally.
With our market, consumers and products evolving at an ever faster pace, these contributors seek control over all else, that and another billable procedure, while clearly seeing themselves, as too educated, and therefore as being clearly above the provision of those services actually associated with successful hearing instrument fitting.
I would suggest that the public and market would very quickly establish the true value of these advanced degrees, were these would be, practitioners of the dispensing arts actually to have to compete for patients in a free. and open market, and without the benefit of their “gatekeeper status”.
For clearly, if these professionals are unwilling to actually do the testing, fitting, and followup needed for good patient care, patients would seek those who do provide such care. And, without the current legal compulsion, that they must see an MD, or Audiologist, the consuming public might very well, and often does choose differently.
Dr. Tamil has every reason to be afraid of us replacing him, and his students. Because, as Dr. Kasewurm admitted, we are much more qualified, and most of all, we are eager to be of service to those patients that these learned, and lettered colleagues see themselves so above.
But, unlike our learned and lettered academics, we see no need for the abject power grab, that would give us total control over an entire delivery process. Nor do we seek to make any other professional subservient in any way, even though we are, by their own admission, far more qualified, and experienced as audioprosthologists, who actually do provide the very services, that these audiologists see themselves as above, and or too busy to handle.
There was a time when I would have expected more from the editorial board of such a ‘peer’ reviewed publication, until I look at who you consider your peers to be.
But, I do not believe anyone could venture to call this piece, a balanced article.
Very Truly Yours,
R. D.’Dan’ Taylor, ACA, BC/HIS, COHC
Owner, A Advanced Hearing Care,
720 East New Haven Ave. Suite #12
Melbourne, Florida 32901