Online Hearing "Test" and Hearing Aids
I have a clinical appointment in a hospital that owns a primary care network with 82 practitioners. Recently our physicians received a package from an insurance company containing a makeshift "calibrated to ANSI specifications audiometer"—a USB data drive, a shoddy set of earbuds (not even as good as iPod earbuds), and a bag of disposable tree-tip-style probes—with a link to an online hearing "test" module.
The instructions talk about billing CPT 92552, but then suggest ordering hearing devices based on the screening result from the company's website. The test cannot identify otologic conditions; it says "use your clinical judgment regarding referral." No information is offered about fitting, orientation, or follow-up.
Fortunately, our physicians didn't like this program and weren't interested. Why would a busy primary care practice want to add this responsibility?
The intent of this program was to reach patients who otherwise wouldn't pursue hearing aids. But the idea fell into the hands of an insurance company. Insurance companies should not be involved in dispensing patient care products—it's a conflict of interest!
This program, and others like it, won't survive once consumers realize they are being cheated, and most physicians don't want to participate. It's disappointing that patients who have a bad experience with the online program will continue to suffer isolation and auditory deprivation because they fear another wasted investment and don't trust the hearing industry. Audiologists have to educate the public and medical community about our services and their value to patients.
Lisa D. Cahill
Advocacy for Accommodations
Unfortunately, the suggestions in the Feb. 14 article ("Is the Government Failing College-Bound Students?") for improving chances of the College Board granting accommodations proved ineffective. Alternatively, we all need to contact our congressional representatives to request that they join the bipartisan Dyslexia Caucus to encourage the Department of Justice to require the College Board and other testing agencies to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act ("Dear Congressperson, I urge you to join the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus so that individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia may receive appropriate accommodations from the various testing and licensing agencies in our country.")
To join, please contact Jeff Hild (email@example.com) in the office of Rep. Pete Stark, or David Pulliam (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the office of Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Woodland Hills, California