WASHINGTON, D.C. — On September 9, 2019, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Roger F. Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act of 2019 (S.2446).
Like its identical companion bill (H.R.4056) introduced on July 25 by Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC) and colleagues, this legislation will enhance the Medicare benefit by providing beneficiaries critical direct access to both diagnostic and therapeutic services of audiologists. The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) has endorsed the bill, along with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).
Medicare Audiologist Access & Services Act of 2019
The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R. 4056) is intended to improve outcomes and reduce barriers to care by allowing Medicare beneficiaries to seek treatment directly from audiologists if they suspect they have a hearing or balance problem.
The legislation would 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.
“Outdated Medicare rules make it more difficult for seniors experiencing hearing loss to get the care they need. Our bill would clear the roadblocks that stand in the way of Medicare beneficiaries, and make audiology services more accessible.”
–Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Through a unified approach, the major hearing organizations have achieved introduction of the bill and are working together to elicit broad bipartisan support. They are encouraging their members to help advance their efforts by reaching out to their local legislators and asking them to support of H.R.4056 and S.2446.
Source: AAA, ADA, ASHA