September 2015 Governmental Affairs Update

09/04/2015 12:25 PM | Anonymous

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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

  


Illinois Academy of Audiology (ILAA)                      
4000 Westgate
Springfield, IL 62711 
 
Phone: (217) 691-1506 

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