Legislative Wrap Up
What a legislative session 2021 turned out to be! Session began with the filing of HB 373 / SB 1268 which sought to provide insurance coverage of hearing aids for children. This bill made progress through the Senate but was never heard in the House and ultimately died this session. The remainder of FLAA’s focus was addressing HB 957, the bill brought to life by Redesign Health, the parent company of Lively. This bill sought to change audiology practice statutes without the input from the key stakeholders. While FLAA attempted to negotiate and use this opportunity to update some of our practice statutes, full agreement on language was never achieved. After a roller coaster of a ride, HB 957 and the multiple amendments to senate bills related to it all died in session.
While FLAA was at the forefront of opposing HB 957 thanks to our lobbyist, Theresa Bulger, we did not defeat it alone. A big thank you to the Florida Coalition for Spoken Language Options (Terri Fisk), Florida Society of Hearing Healthcare Professionals (Steve Wynn & Jason Wynn), Sertoma, Debbie School, Clarke School, Florida Chapter of AG Bell, Association of Deans, Hearing Industry Association, Starkey, Sonova, Amplifon, American Academy of Audiology, and American Speech Language Hearing Association for your support throughout this session. Additionally, thank you to Dr. Austin Black, Dr. Bob Fifer, Dr. Jordan McNair, and all the families who traveled to Tallahassee to speak on behalf of the bills related to hearing. Thank you to Senator Bean, Senator Diaz, Senator Passidomo, President Simpson, Chair Renner, Representative Brannon, and Speaker Sprowls for taking the time to understand the importance and implications of each of these bills. We appreciate you supporting and protecting Floridians with hearing loss. And to you, our members, thank you for being so invested this session and responding with action anytime we called. As you can see, this was a large group effort – we appreciate you all!
Discussions regarding the hearing aid bill for children will continue this summer to determine next steps. FLAA believes HB 957 was an initial attempt to change our practice statutes and anticipates a similar bill to be filed again next year. Which brings us to our next topic, FLAA’s Legislative Task Force.
LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE
A bill must be sponsored and filed to make changes to any statute, next that bill must be heard and approved in each of the House and Senate committees, and then approved and signed into law by the governor. As you can imagine, this is no easy task. The bright side of HB 957 is that our practice statues now have the attention of our legislators and may provide us with an opportunity to make changes. FLAA is putting together a Task Force to review and suggest updates to Florida’s Audiology Statutes (ss. 468.1105-468.1315). FLAA’s Task Force will then work with other stakeholders, many of which were the people who assisted us this session, to draft a bill to implement statute change. If you are interested in serving on this Task Force, click here to fill out the application. The application deadline is May 7th.
Convention Early Bird Pricing Reminder
Florida Academy of Audiology’s First HYBRID Convention is being held June 18-19, 2021. Join us online or in person! The main program, scheduled for June 18 (Friday) and June 19 (Saturday) will offer 1.4 CEUs or 14 clock hours. An additional 1.45 CEUs or 14.5 clock hours will be offered on June 17 (Thursday) during our FREE pre-conference courses sponsored by e3 Tele-Acoustics, Oticon, Starkey, Signia, Cognivue and Phonak, as well as some virtual pre-recorded options for all attendees. That means you can get a total of 2.85 CEUs or 28.5 clock hours with FLAA this year! To view the complete agenda, click here.
Early bird pricing ends May 17 at 5:00 pm Eastern! Sign up today by clicking here.
For more information, check out our full Convention website at www.flaa2021.com!
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