The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) welcomed the introduction today of the Medicare Audiology Services Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 2330), a measure that would provide Medicare beneficiaries greater access to audiology services and would allow audiologists to provide diagnostic and treatment services across their full scope of practice.
Introduced by U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the proposed legislation would give Medicare beneficiaries access to audiologists for both diagnostic and treatment services similar to those already available from other practitioners.
"The introduction of this bill is an important step in making sure Medicare patients are covered for the full range of professional services provided by audiologists," ASHA President Patricia A. Prelock says. "ASHA has been working hard to make expanded access to audiology services under Medicare a reality, and we applaud Rep. Bilirakis for his leadership."
H.R. 2330 would allow audiologists to bill for hearing and balance assessment services, auditory treatment services (including auditory processing and auditory rehabilitation treatment), vestibular treatment and intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring. Also, the proposed legislation would provide Medicare coverage of comprehensive audiology services in coordination with current billing and reimbursement standards, consistent with other non-physician services covered by Medicare.
"We are also pleased to report that the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has expressed its support for the legislation," noted ASHA President Prelock. "We will be steadfast working with lawmakers and other organizations to achieve passage of the Medicare Audiology Services Enhancement Act."
The bill has received bipartisan support from the House of Representatives. Currently, cosponsors of the bill include Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Louis Capps (D-CA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), David McKinley (R-WV), Pat Meehan (R-PA) and Michael Michaud (D-ME).
For further information visit ASHA's Issue Brief on Medicare Coverage of Audiology Services [PDF].
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 166,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.