Your CAA Board and Legislative Committee have been actively monitoring, providing feedback, and serving as expert witnesses for important legislative issues that concern the profession of audiology. The following summaries reflect the most current information from Sacramento.
LEGISLATIVE WORK IN 2022
Northern California CAA Legislative Liaison: Leigh Kjeldsen, Au.D.
Southern California CAA Legislative Liaison: Kaitlyn Bruchierri, Au.D.
The California Legislature began the second year of its two-year session on January 3rd. The first two months of the new year set the stage for the work to come, as lawmakers unveil new bills and the Governor and Legislature outline plans for the state’s budget. By the end of February, we expect to see approximately two thousand bills introduced for consideration. Our lobbyists at Sacramento Advocates look through each and every one to see how they affect audiologists. While the legislative landscape won’t become clear for a few more weeks, we are working on some issues proactively to benefit California audiologists and our patients.
The following is a short summary of our current efforts. We encourage you to contact us with support, challenges, questions or areas for further exploration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the economic downturn of 2008-2009 when the state’s budget was severely reduced, Medi-Cal reimbursements to providers were cut by 10%. Audiologists along with many other groups in California continue to be reimbursed at only 90%. The Governor has signaled interest in repealing the cuts and we are working to push for funding in the state’s budget to reinstate the 100% reimbursement rate for audiology.
Third party groups that work with insurance companies to provide hearing aid benefits for their consumers ask audiologists to sign contracts to be in network. These contractual arrangements present a number of questions for participants. This year, CAA is engaging in stakeholder conversations as part of a larger effort to bring awareness to audiologists as to our rights and responsibilities in this space under California law.
The Hearing Aids for California Children Program was signed into law in 2020 and started accepting applications from families in July 2021. Like most new programs, the state has taken a phased approach to launching the HACCP, ramping up its operation over time. CAA was invited by the Department of Health Care Services, which oversees HACCP, to provide formal stakeholder input. We remain actively engaged with the state and other stakeholder groups to refine HACCP, and ensure that when its launch is fully complete, it will meet the needs of California families and audiologists.
Families with NO coverage for hearing aids, external worn bone conduction devices, and related services who earn under the 600 FPL will qualify for this program. They can reference this chart to determine if they qualify for HACCP or CCS. To learn more, visit www.letcakidshear.com
This year, the Legislature will be holding an oversight hearing examining the SLPAHAD licensing board to evaluate its performance and impact on stakeholders. The Legislature periodically holds these hearings for each board and bureau operating under the Department of Consumer Affairs. Because these hearings can result in changes impacting the SLPAHAD licensing board‘s oversight of audiologists, we will be closely monitoring the process and will be prepared to engage as necessary.
SLPAHAD Licensing Board Meetings
Our lobbyists and your legislative liaisons attend meetings held by the licensing board. These meetings are announced on the SLPAHAD website along with agendas for the meeting. You can find information here: https://www.speechandhearing.ca.gov/board_activity/meetings/index.shtml
For more detailed information and updates throughout the year, please watch your email for CAA e-blasts and the quarterly CAA Member Newsletter.