Meet the Expert: Debbie Abel

Feb 20, 2024 | Billing

Navigating the world of audiology with passion and earned expertise is Debbie Abel, Au.D., Audigy’s Manager of Coding and Contracting Services. If you’ve walked anywhere in the world of audiology, chances are this isn’t the first time you’ve heard Debbie Abel’s name.

An otoscope iconIn 1975 Debbie earned her bachelor of science degree at Kent State University, her focus being speech and hearing therapy. She was so excited by all aspects of audiology that she continued on the same educational path and, by 1977, had earned her master’s degree in audiology at Kent State as well. Debbie then went on to receive her professional doctorate in audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences, solidifying her education.

It is an understatement to say that Dr. Abel is cherished as our wise and trusted advisor here at Audigy, and she has the résumé to back it up. Dr. Abel is a seasoned professional with years and years of experience. She began her career as an educational audiologist, then spent 14 years at the Alliance (Ohio) Eye and Ear Clinic. From there, she and the ENT from the clinic started their own individual practices in the same office and worked together for 9 years. Her last clinical position was in Poway, Calif., supporting two ENTs at the ENT Specialty Center.

Wanting her work to have more than just local impact, Dr. Abel’s next stop was the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). For over eight years, she was part of the AAA, serving in a great variety of roles — first as Director of Reimbursement and then as its Senior Education Specialist in Business Practices. Ultimately, she acted as its Senior Specialist of Practice Management. That title alone shows the natural path that would eventually make her an integral part of Audigy’s offerings to our members, as practice management is a huge part of what we do. However, it was Dr. Abel’s education and years in private practice, coupled with that experience with the AAA, that made her such a perfect candidate to join Audigy.

A document iconDr. Abel has never simply taken on one challenge at a time. She is a past President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, but that’s not all — teaching is also in her repertoire. She has taught in roles as Adjunct Instructor at A.T. Still University and the Pennsylvania College of Optometry/Salus University.

Giving back to her community has always been important to Dr. Abel. She has served on various committees and boards, including a Governmental Affairs Committee and an Ethical Practices Board at the AAA. As a past President of the Ohio Academy of Audiology and former Chair and Vice Chair of the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, she has logged some serious volunteer hours, all in the name of better hearing. She also served as a member and executive committee member of the Alliance Community Hospital Board of Directors in Ohio. In fact, she is the Alliance-area Women’s Division Chamber of Commerce 1994 Athena Award recipient. Actively supporting the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act, she strives to make a positive impact in her community and in the broader health care landscape.

An award iconThe recipient of several awards, in 2006 Dr. Abel earned the title of “Active Advocate of the Year” from the State Leaders’ Network of the AAA. Then in 2012, she was awarded the AAA’s President’s Award. Whether she’s in the clinic, the classroom, or the boardroom, Dr. Abel is always making waves in the best way possible.

Dr. Abel’s journey at Audigy began in June of 2015. Beyond coding and contracting services, Debbie is the go-to person for member queries, both on member and potential-member calls. She makes navigating complex coding and contracting situations look easy, all while conducting research on compliance issues to ensure Audigy members stay ahead in their fields.

A phone iconThe crux of Dr. Abel’s role is member support at the highest level. She not only answers questions but actively keeps members informed about important items like changes in Medicare policy. She educates, aiding members in understanding the intricacies of their field, announcing and explaining new studies and regulations. Dr. Abel emphasizes her availability to members through various channels — cell, email, or in-person interactions — ensuring a seamless support system.

When asked about working with Audigy’s members, Dr. Abel beams with enthusiasm. “I love helping our awesome members get financially recognized for the work that they do,” she shares. She emphasizes how much she loves the incredible interactions she has both with members and with co-workers, explaining that she truly enjoys the collaborative work environment at Audigy.

Dr. Abel feels supported at Audigy and credits the organization with being a catalyst for helping her achieve her personal and professional goals. She appreciates the freedom the company provides her, allowing her to make her aspirations a reality. Her friendly gang of colleagues, along with Audigy’s support, fosters a work environment where Dr. Abel’s personal and professional lives can thrive in tandem.

An airplane iconBeyond the office, Dr. Abel is “just Debbie,” and Debbie’s favorite thing to do is travel. For her, travel is a source of rejuvenation and inspiration, allowing her to bring a fresh perspective to all parts of her life, including her career. A surprising fact about Debbie? During her college days, she played on her dorm’s hockey team!

When it comes to influences, Dr. Abel credits Bob Glaser, Ph.D., as a significant professional inspiration. On a personal level, her parents and late husband have played pivotal roles in shaping her values and determination. If given the chance to meet anyone, alive or dead, her list includes iconic figures such as Helen Keller, Golda Meier, and John F. Kennedy; she has a particular admiration for their diverse perspectives and leadership styles.

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