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New Legislation Would Provide Audiologists, SLPs Permanent Telehealth Authority Under Medicare

March 25, 2021

Bipartisan legislation introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives would give audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) permanent authority to provide services to Medicare beneficiaries through telepractice. The bill, the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R. 2168), introduced by Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and David McKinley (R-WV), expands the list of providers eligible for Medicare reimbursement for providing care via telehealth to include audiologists and SLPs. Currently, members of both professions may only furnish telehealth services to a limited extent during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Since that partial authority expires when the PHE ultimately ends, this legislation is an important step towards giving Medicare beneficiaries more options to access audiologists and SLPs for critical hearing, balance, speech, language, swallowing, and cognitive care.

Representative Sherrill’s press release included a quote from ASHA 2021 President A. Lynn Williams commenting that the measure “marks an important step toward ASHA’s ultimate goal of providing seniors with more timely and greater access to the full range of services that audiologists and SLPs are licensed by states to provide through other programs and payers.”

Visit ASHA’s Take Action site to share your support for this bill with your member of Congress.

ASHA has extensive information regarding service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions?

Contact Jerry White, ASHA’s director of federal affairs for health care, at jwhite@asha.org


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