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2017 Organizational Accomplishments



  • Awarded a three-year grant to Medical University of South Carolina (PI Theodore McRackan on 10/1/2017 to conduct a study to develop and validate Quality of Life instruments specifically targeted to cochlear implant recipients. A variety of assessments have been developed to document the impact of cochlear implantation on communication abilities in adults and children with hearing loss. However, our knowledge of the functional outcomes of cochlear implantation remains limited. This study is intended to address this shortcoming in current research and may provide information to support CI reimbursement.
  • Collaborating with American Hearing Research Foundation to co-fund a grant on the cost effectiveness of cochlear implants. Initial 2017 solicitation did not produce a winning proposal; this offering is being extended into 2018.
  • Continued multi-center study for CMS with the aim of expanding candidacy under Medicare. Nine additional study sites were added to boost enrollment, bringing the site total to 19 across the US. A total of 28 subjects had received a CI as part of the study by year-end. Strong patient outcomes, equivalent to the under 65 population, though numbers of enrolled patients remains lower than expected.
  • Collected data on Medicaid utilization across 30+ states demonstrating widespread dependence on Medicaid coverage for pediatric CI, which exceeds 50% of surgeries for children at many hospitals. Research results will be published in 2018.
  • Initiated a program to support survey research activities undertaken by ACI Alliance Members with bi-annual push-outs of approved survey instruments to our membership. First round of surveys to be shared in February 2018.


  • Carried out programs in collaboration with Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to provide greater understanding of candidacy, residual hearing, hearing aid use, insurance and outcomes associated with cochlear implantation in adults. Conducted four HLAA chapter events in 2017 in Columbia SC (Feb), Miami and Ft. Lauderdale FL (both in March) and Salt Lake City (March).
  • Partnered with Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf to author an article published in January 2017 comparing adoption of the Internet by US adults to that of cochlear implants: “Cochlear Implants: A Hidden Technology?
  • Sponsored and conducted HLAA’s Consumer Research Symposium at the June 2017 Salt Lake City HLAA National conference: “Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants: Merging Technologies, Expanding Benefits.” Attended by 600+ consumers with hearing loss, this educational consumer seminar was highly rated for its understandable, research-based approach to cochlear implant candidacy, advances, benefits (including cognitive health), and access concerns.
  • Initiated outreach to the national organizations of family physicians, internists and pediatricians seeking to organize presentations at national and state conferences. State presentations have been conducted in MN and are being sought elsewhere. ACI Alliance will present at the October 2018 Family Medical Experience (FMX) annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians (4000 family doctors).
  • Developed a new resource for primary care physicians and nurses, Adult Candidacy for Cochlear Implantation: Clinical Guidance, being used for primary care physician and nurse outreach
  • Initiated a focused SEO effort to expand website visibility and reach the general public and primary care physicians/nurses on key cochlear implant topics. Search outcomes on Google now point to our website (first page and often the #1 position) on a number of key topics including steps to a cochlear implant, insurance, candidacy, what is a cochlear implant, advances, adults, older adults, and outcomes in children and adults. Developed a robust ad campaign with a Google grant that further enhanced search to resources on our website.
  • Improved the popular resource “Steps to a Cochlear Implant” for the general public, primary care physicians and nurses to address one of our most frequent questions: “What is involved in getting a cochlear implant?” and optimized the ability for Internet search to find this resource. This is now the #1 Google search outcome on this topic.
  • Collaborated with Stanford University and University of California San Francisco on a cooperative pediatric CI symposium held July 26-29, 2017 in San Francisco with over 1300 attendees. Conducted a consumer workshop on Saturday afternoon for parents and adults with 130+ attendees.
  • Developed, published and distributed three issues of ACI Alliance Calling, a communication tool for our membership and the general public (April, September, December 2017)
  • Expanded consumer blog resource for adults with the initiation of “An Octogenarian’s CI Journey” and “A Young Adult’s Perspective” while continuing the rehab focused blog coordinated by Naama Tsach PhD on wide-ranging adult topics.
  • Initiated a PR outreach campaign in preparation for the March 2018 launch of a powerful new documentary by filmmakers Jane Madell and Irene Taylor Brodsky profiling the journeys of 15 young adults, deaf from childhood, who benefitted from advanced hearing technology.
  • Published free, open access highlights from the 14th International Symposium on Cochlear Implants (CI2016 in Toronto) in Otology & Neurotology September 2017.


  • Continued expansion of ACI Alliance State Champion program, which now includes 84 Champs representing 40 states.
  • Developed concept for expanding state organizations by including consumers, parents and hearing health professionals beyond State Champions.
  • Plans to expand staff to include one position devoted to governmental policy and began recruitment with start date of January 2018.
  • Collaborated with other organizations to advance reauthorization of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, which passed through Congress and was signed by the President on 10/18/2017. Language suggested by ACI Alliance on the need for accurate, comprehensive, up-to-date information for families on options was included in the final bill.
  • Conducted research on problems of access to appropriate cochlear implant care at the Veterans Health Administration. Submitted comments to the VA as part of a rule-making on prosthetics on 12/15/2017.
  • Organized clinicians with an interest in VA practices as a means of providing ongoing information to the VA on cochlear implant candidacy evaluation and care.
  • Worked with other organizations to support the retention of Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) in any healthcare reforms. Rehabilitative and habilitative services as one of the ten EHBs has served to aid in the inclusion of CI in private health care plans.
  • Became preparations for ACI Alliance on the Hill during CI20218DC in March 2018 to focus on Medicaid, Essential Health Benefits and access to CI at the VA.
  • Collected research on the role of Medicaid in cochlear implant coverage for children and adults. Findings are being used to support maintenance of Federal Medicaid funding to states. Publication forthcoming.
  • Actively participate in coalitions in the hearing loss and general disability field to address access and awareness. Assumed leadership for coordinating Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus.

Build an Effective Organization

  •  Grew the number of active members to 1393, a 37% increase over 2016. Increased total number of Organizational members to 77 by year-end (up from 66 the prior year).
  • Continued expansion of social media with website visibility and increased Twitter presence. Initiated ACI Alliance on Facebook, which has generated interest in ACI Alliance well beyond our own membership.
  • Expanded interactions with healthcare organizations and disciplines outside of hearing care to increase cochlear implant visibility in the larger healthcare communities.


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