In the latest episode of the Oregon Communicator Podcast, I talk with Roxanne Hanel, who is an Audiologist with the InterMountain Education Service District. Actually, she is the Audiologist at IMESD. The district covers a lot of territory - six counties, to be precise, and Roxanne is the only Audiologist working the beat.
Roxanne's position has changed a fair amount since she started this job. Among the biggest differences is the merger between the Umatilla-Morrow ESD and the Union-Baker ESD, which is what created the InterMountain ESD in the first place. In addition, Roxanne has noticed how changes in the state funding system have affected her ability to provide services to the children in her district.
The issue of funding for Audiology services in Oregon has been coming up a lot lately. I've heard people in the Portland Metropolitan Area talking about it for several years now, and it has had a notable impact on the ability of ESDs to maintain adequate staffing of Audiologists. I hope that this topic becomes a focus of discussions within OSHA. In particular, I would welcome comments from other Audiologists across the state regarding their experiences with funding change. If there is a movement to push for a return to prior levels of funding, I hope that OSHA will be able to partner with other stakeholder organizations, such as the Oregon Academy of Audiology, to assist in that advocacy.
As you might know, most of the interviews for the podcast were recorded during my round-the-state trip in the fall of 2014. I was able to touch base with Roxanne when I attended the OSHA Spring Conference in Pendleton last March. To date, the funding situation has not changed substantially. On the other hand, neither has the view from the IMESD offices, which remains one of my all-time favorites: