Representative Mike Ross (D-AR) has introduced the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2140), along with 11 original co-sponsors. H.R. 2140 eliminates the need for Medicare patients to obtain a physician referral prior to visiting an audiologist for an evaluation. Federal employees and members of Congress also have direct access to an audiologist. This bill would afford Medicare patients the same direct access to an audiologist. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is the lead sponsor of the Senate companion bill, S. 3242.
The grassroots efforts of audiologists have contributed to the creation of a strong foundation on this issue, however it is the continued involvement and visibility of audiologists that will further promote awareness for Direct Access among lawmakers.