The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act of 2019 (H.R. 4056) was introduced yesterday by U.S. Representatives Tom Rice (R-SC), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE). ASHA collaborated with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) on this legislation—which will improve Medicare beneficiary’s access to audiologists—and issued a Joint Statement of Support [PDF].
The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act of 2019 (H.R. 4056) will remove unnecessary barriers, allowing patients to receive appropriate, timely, and cost-effective audiologic care. Currently, Medicare requires a physician order for patients to see an audiologist—and covers only diagnostic services provided by the audiologist without allowing for follow-up treatment or a plan of care. This legislation can improve outcomes for beneficiaries by allowing direct access to audiologic services and streamlining Medicare coverage policies so that audiologists can provide the full range of Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services that correspond to their scope of practice. The legislation will also reclassify audiologists as practitioners, which is consistent with the way Medicare recognizes other non-physician providers, such as clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and advanced practice registered nurses.
Contact your members of Congress today and ask them to cosponsor the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act of 2019 (H.R. 4056).
Earlier this year, ASHA, AAA, and ADA agreed to join forces to develop legislation that expands access to and coverage of audiology services under Medicare and recognized the importance of agreeing on single legislation. For Medicare beneficiaries who need hearing health care services, it is critical that audiology services be positioned to support evidence-based care and for the full scope of practice for audiologists be appropriately recognized.
Contact Jerry White, ASHA’s director of federal affairs, health care, at firstname.lastname@example.org.