AT News March 2012
From the President
Let Me Hear from You: First Signs of SpringBy Therese Walden, AuD
I’ve seen robins out an about, daffodils in bloom, the grass greening up on putting surfaces, daylight until almost 6:00 pm—it’s unmistakable, spring is around the corner. Just a couple of downsides: spring cleaning, dusting off the golf clubs, and looking the fool until my swing gets back in shape! But before the vernal equinox arrives bright and early on March 20 of this year and we revel in its promise of all things new, we have loads of work to do. Just a few things to think about. Read more…
In the News
2012 Board of Directors Election Results AnnouncedWe are proud to announce the election results for president-elect and three board members at-large positions. They will begin their terms on July 1, 2012. Read more...
Board Message to Membership Regarding GRC ChairIn regard to the issue concerning a potential conflicted position with the chair of the Academy's Government Relations Committee (GRC), the following is provided as an update. Read more...
Academy Global and Humanitarian Task Force ReportThe report of the Global and Humanitarian Task Force is now available as a resource for members especially those humanitarian audiologists attending AN! In Boston. Note the recommendations are under review by the Academy and have been removed from the report. Read more…
Standards of Practice Widespread Review Now OpenThis draft document was developed by the Professional Standards and Practices Committee to define acceptable standards of practice for services representing the Academy's Scope of Practice. These standards reflect the values and priorities of our profession and are continually evaluated and revised to reflect the current state of the profession. This widespread peer review is open through April 5, 2012. Read more…
Academy Membership Meeting at AudiologyNOW! 2012NEW name! NEW format! Formerly known as the Academy Business Meeting, this is the opportunity for members to dialogue with leadership, process what you’ve heard during AN! 12, and discuss the future of the Academy. Submit your questions for Academy leaders and staff, either in advance (Click here to submit your question now) or at the door. Come to the Academy Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 31, at 1:00 pm. Audiology Means Business and Academy members are a part of it.
Academy Research Conference 2012ARC 2012: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: From Basic Biology to Prevention will be held on Wednesday, March 28, the first day of AudiologyNOW! This conference brings together leading scientists and clinicians to discuss clinically important advances in topics ranging from the basic biology of noise-induced injury to its evaluation, prevention and treatment. Space is currently limited. Register today.
NEW! ARC Student scholarships are available. The deadline for applications is March 12. Contact Meggan Olek for more information.
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Make Time to Review Your GoalsReflect back on some of your actions that you can contribute to your previous success. What do you want to accomplish this next year? Take the time to map out how you will achieve this to not only help your practice but to also positively affect your patients. Read more…
Academy Summary of Meeting with United Healthcare/hi HealthInnovationsOn January 31, 2012, representatives from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) met with representatives from United Healthcare (UHC) and hi HealthInnovations (UHC/HI). This meeting was the culmination of many email contacts and discussions between the AAA, ADA and UHC/HI, which began in October 2011 when the new UHC ‘hearing aid benefit’ was introduced during the nationwide open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage insurance plans. This new hearing aid benefit offered by UHC/HI includes both an online hearing test (used to determine need for a UHC/HI hearing device) and the online purchase of a specified package of hearing devices UHC/HI has procured through IntriCon Corporation. Since the time of the January 31st meeting, the Boards and staff of the AAA and the ADA have been hard at work vetting and summarizing the information gleaned from the meeting and all prior communications. Read more…
Academy Joins Hearing Health Groups in Issuing Statement Regarding Consumer-Administered Hearing Tests and Direct-to-Consumer Hearing Aid SalesOn February 9, 2012, the Academy joined the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), the International Hearing Society (IHS), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in issuing a joint position statement on Consumer-Administered Hearing Tests and Direct-to-Consumer Hearing Aid Sales. The statement, citing safety and efficacy concerns related to this method may be viewed here.
Academy Sponsors Congressional Health Hearing Caucus EventOn February 8, 2012, the Academy, along with other hearing health groups attended and assisted in sponsoring the kickoff Congressional Hearing Health Caucus (CHHC) event for the 112th Congress. Drs. Lucille Beck and Mark Packer spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of Hill staff and interest groups about how the military and Veterans Administration are handling the surge in hearing loss/tinnitus cases related to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The intent of the Caucus is to bring attention to and advance hearing health care issues in Congress and the Academy has been working with the Caucus chairs, Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) to bring awareness to the group. Visit the Academy’s Legislative Action Center to urge your representative to become a member of the CHHC.
Beer and Chowda PAC Event at AudiologyNOW!Tickets are going fast for the Boston Beer and Chowda PAC event! Plan join the PAC Advisory Board for an evening of Boston beers, chowder, and other appetizers and libations at America's oldest restaurant the Union Oyster House on Thursday, March 29, 7:00–9:00 pm. Tickets for this event are $100 with a small number of student rate tickets reserved at $50, click here to purchase. All proceeds from this event will go directly to the American Academy of Audiology, Inc. PAC. Tickets to this event must be purchased by an Academy member, but guests are welcome to attend. Please e-mail Kate Thomas once you have made your contribution towards a ticket purchase.
Happy Hour with a View at AudiologyNOW!Proceeds from the AAA Foundation’s 2012 Happy Hour with a View support programs in audiology research and education. Tickets are still available on the AudiologyNOW! registration site for this benefit event on Wednesday, March 28, 5:30–7:30 pm. Call 703-226-1049 for more information.
Last Chance to Receive Free An Ear to the Ground: Forces Affecting the Future of Audiology ReportThis 2011 report published by the American Academy of Audiology includes a comprehensive and forward-looking scan of conditions and trends in audiology, science, technology, and policy. All donors who contribute $250 or more to the AAA Foundation before April 1 will receive a complimentary copy of this valuable information that will impact the practice and profession of audiology for years to come. Read more…
Now Accepting Scholarship Applications!The AAA Foundation offers several scholarships for audiology students (AuD, PhD, AuD/PhD) and encourages qualified individuals to apply. Application deadline is April 30 for the 2012–13 academic year. Read more…
Coding, Reimbursement, and Compliance
Medicare Provides Guidance on Vestibular Function Testing through Palmetto LCDStates and regions in Palmetto GBA Jurisdiction 1 have new Medicare guidance on vestibular function testing through a local coverage determination (LCD), effective February 27, 2012. The Academy submitted comments to Palmetto in December expressing our concerns over the restrictive nature of the new policy. While several of the recommendations offered by the Academy were successfully adopted by Palmetto in this updated policy, the policy remains restrictive with respect to coverage for the rotational chair. We will continue to work with Palmetto on this issue and keep members apprised of any further developments. The Vestibular Function Testing LCD policy applies to the following areas of the country only: California, Nevada, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. Read more…
CPT Codes for Central Auditory Evaluation 92620 and 92621 Subject to an NCCI EditAudiologists should be aware that CMS will begin enforcing an edit on certain audiology services provided on or after April 1, 2012. The National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edit would bundle the following individual tests for central auditory function: CPT codes 92571 (Filtered Speech Test), 92572 (Staggered Spondaic Word Test), and 92576 (Synthetic Sentence Identification Test) into CPT codes 92620 and 92621 (Evaluation of Central Auditory Function). The edits prevent a provider from billing any or all of these three codes (92571, 92572, 92576) in conjunction with CPT codes 92620/92621 on the same date of service. Read more…
Health and Human Services (HHS) Takes Action on Behalf of Those with Hearing LossHHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has entered into a settlement agreement with Advanced Dialysis Centers in Randallstown, Maryland, to ensure individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing have equal access to programs and activities as required under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Section 504 prohibits disability-based discrimination by all health care providers that receive federal financial assistance. Where necessary to afford equal access to health care services, providers must provide free of charge to the deaf or hard of hearing person, auxiliary aids and services including sign language interpreters. Read the HHS OCR Press Release.
View an overview presentation on the new 2010 ADA Requirements that may affect your practice.
Academy Attends National Institute of Health FY 2013 Budget Priorities BriefingOn Tuesday, February 14, 2012, Academy staff attended an NIH FY 2013 Budget Priorities Briefing presented by NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, titled “Improving Health Across the Human Lifespan” at the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. Read more…
Medicare Resources for Beneficiaries with Hearing LossEarlier this year, the CMS released an educational video in American Sign Language (ASL) to provide important information about the Medicare program to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The video consists of an overview of the Medicare program, including what Medicare is, who qualifies, the four parts of Medicare (A, B, C, and D), new preventive services under the Affordable Care Act, and how to obtain assistance in paying Medicare costs.
Audiologists may find this to be a helpful resource to share with patients. Click here to download the video.
ICD-10-Compliance Date of October 1, 2013, DelayedOn February 16, 2012, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a press release, which announced a planned delay in ICD-10 compliance. The transition to ICD-10 was scheduled to occur on October 1, 2013. The release states that "As part of President Obama's commitment to reducing regulatory burden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen G. Sebelius today announced that HHS will initiate a process to postpone the date by which certain health care entities have to comply with International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10)."
As CMS releases further information, the Academy will continue to inform members on how this delay will impact audiologists, when the new date of compliance is issued, and other updates as this coding system process transitions.
Browse audiology jobs and post your resume for free at www.HEARCareers.org.
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