President’s Message 2015

Winter Message from 2015 CAA President Becky Bingea, AuD; December 9, 2015

As the holidays and end of the year approach, I want to thank our CAA Board and all of our members for the support of your professional organization this year.  It has been a busy year, and your Board members and management group have been working diligently on your behalf. After six long months without a management group, CAA hired JMS Association Management Professionals in June. They were up and running in a flash and have contributed immensely. We are so excited to have found such a professional and dedicated group!

We had a very successful conference this year in San Jose, with top-notch speakers, a record number of student attendees and volunteers, greater than expected total attendance, sold out exhibitor space, and excellent hotel accommodations. For your convenience, continuing education hours exceeded California’s licensing requirements and could be fulfilled with two days of conference attendance. A special thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors who made this excellent educational experience possible!

CAA initiated and/or participated in or monitored a variety of legislative and other activities, including communication with the California State University Chancellor and legislators regarding the need for additional AuD programs in California; Medi-Cal and managed Medi-Cal issues; amendments to the Song-Beverly Warranty Act; CCS issues; Department of Health Care Services language benchmarks to track language acquisition and development for the Deaf & HOH; communication with the California Board of Equalization to clarify taxable items for audiology/hearing aid practices; and licensing board (SLPAHADB) issues, including Audiology Aides, the dispensing practical exam, and regulations updates. In addition to our monthly Board meetings, CAA Board members engaged in inter-organizational discussions and activities with fellow groups, such as AAA, ASHA, CSHA, ADA, and HLAA.

On the national front, CAA was involved in legislative activities regarding Medicare reimbursement, EDHI, direct access, the ADA Patient Choice Act, the HIS apprenticeship program, and the opposition to the Fit-to-Serve legislation permitting the VA to hire hearing instrument specialists to deliver hearing health-care services that currently may be provided only by or under the supervision of audiologists.

Your Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions are so important in supporting legislators who promote and/or sponsor the causes of the CAA and our patient population. PAC donations were at an all-time high in 2008, with $6594. This year we are at $3508 to date. Please consider an end of year donation to our PAC!

Membership (July-June) over the past 10 years has grown from 58 in 2006, to a high of 298 in 2013. After a decrease in 2014 and 2015, we are rising again to a current 250 thus far for 2016. Our mission is important and serves all audiologists and our consumers in California, so we are always looking for new members and ways to increase our membership. With a California licensed population of 1600 audiologists, we could have a much stronger voice with a greater number of audiologists in our CAA membership. I urge you to encourage your non-CAA colleagues to join CAA and to become involved in the activities that benefit our profession in California!

If you would like additional information or want to know how to become more involved in your state professional organization, please feel free to contact me and/or other Board members. You can email any of us directly from the CAA website. Also, please watch for ballots for 2016 Board Member openings—coming soon!

As a final note, I want to express my appreciation for the honor of serving as your President in 2015. I look forward to continuing to serve you as Past-President in 2016, and am excited to pass the gavel to your very able 2016 President, Dr. Amy White!

With kind regards,

Becky Bingea, AuD


A Message from 2015 CAA President Becky Bingea, AuD

A New Year, a New Congress, and New Opportunities for Audiology!

I borrow this heading from AAA’s Director of Payment Policy and Legislative Affairs, Kate Thomas. These opportunities are true not only nationally, but also in California. While AAA advocates for us on the national scene, CAA is busy working on your behalf in California. Our goals are not mutually exclusive; indeed we have many common goals, but we also have challenges and opportunities unique to California.

As I enter my 33rd year of practice as an audiologist (and my 32nd year as a Californian!), I am fortunate to have memories of rich and varied professional experiences and close relationships with my audiology colleagues, including my work, primarily in medical environments (Kaiser & UCSF), but also in private practice, industry, and schools. As your new President, I am now honored to be working on your behalf with a dedicated team of Board members.

Despite the fact that we are a volunteer-based professional organization, your Board members have worked diligently on your behalf this past year, including the following highlights:

  • Participated in the biennial National Association of Advisors for Health Professionals (NAAHP) this past June 2014 (a fabulous opportunity to promote our profession!)
  • Endorsed the Audiology Patient Choice Act of 2014 to improve accessibility to audiology under the Medicare program
  • Participated on the Advisory Committee for the University of the Pacific’s new AuD program in San Francisco
  • Provided input to our state licensing board (SLPAHADB)
  • Collaborated with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Hearing and Audiology Services Unit, in adoption of CAA’s My Baby Has A Hearing Loss as the basis for the DHCS pamphlet, A Parent’s Guide to Hearing Loss
  • Participated in Medi-Cal reimbursement issues
  • Provided recommendations to DHCS to improve consumer access and protection for CCS children, as well as provider solvency for those dedicated to serving these children
  • Communicated with leaders of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) regarding our respective and mutual goals and potential collaboration
  • Recommended updates to the Board of Equalization (BOE) regarding taxation of hearing aid accessories and components
  • Proposed revisions to the Song-Beverly Warranty Act
  • Explored legislation to eliminate the requirement for dispensing audiologists to take the hearing aid practical exam
  • Held another successful annual educational conference!

Our wonderful lobbyists, Sacramento Advocates, continue to represent us well on the legislative front. Despite CAA’s relatively “small stature” and Sacramento Advocates’ representation of numerous high profile organizations, they remain dedicated to audiology and the consumers we serve. We are thrilled to hear from senior partner Barry Brokaw that Sacramento Advocates has a new partner, Gareth Elliott, who is experienced and well-respected, having served as a senior adviser and legislative secretary to Governor Brown and as a recent appointee to the UC Regents.

We saw growth in our membership in 2014, but strive to increase our numbers even more in 2015. We have 1500+ audiologists in California! Please note that CAA has four membership categories:  Professional, Student, Patron, and Retired. Look at our Membership tab on the website to see where you might fit and the benefits you will receive.

Do you like our annual conference?  If you are a CAA member and attend our conference, your savings on conference fees are more than your annual membership dues! The Call for Papers for our 2015 convention, to be held at the San Jose DoubleTree, has gone out, and we encourage you to share your expertise with your colleagues by submitting an educational program.

Your Academy leadership team is revved up for the New Year—are you? As our current AAA President Erin Miller so aptly noted, “The greatest accomplishments in life are achieved when you pull people together for the common good.” Teamwork is what gives us power to achieve our goals, and as a CAA member, you are a vital part of the team.

My challenge to all of you in 2015 is to find at least two ways in which you can support CAA to help advance the profession of audiology in our state. We are all limited in “bandwidth,” but the opportunities are endless, from running for a Board position, to serving on a committee, presenting at our annual conference, attending licensing board meetings, providing input to the CAA Board, and more. With teamwork we can make a real difference!

Check us out, not only on the website, but also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Hear and Be Heard!

Becky Bingea, AuD
CAA President 2015