President’s Message: Health-Care Changes and Tele-Audiology—Our Focus on the Future
By Catherine Palmer, PhD, Academy President
(June 1, 2020)
- The Academy is well-positioned in terms of finances, staff resources, and volunteer power and is working hard for members. In the coming year, the Academy will focus resources on things that are important to members’ success, now and into the future. One of those focuses is tele-audiology.
- The widespread use of tele-audiology may be related to the current crisis, but it is definitely going to be part of the future. The services audiologists have been providing remotely have made it clear that audiologists are experts in evaluation and management of communication and balance, whether in person or at a distance.
- On August 6, the Virtual Academy Research Conference (ARC) 2020 will focus on tele-audiology. It is putting theory into practice. Save the date, registration is opening soon.
- Audiologists need to think about how to be reimbursed for tele-audiology services. At the end of April, CMS announced that it would cover four cochlear implant codes when performed remotely. Now the Academy will work with CMS to seek reimbursement of audiologists for evaluation and management services—the services currently being providing remotely and the services audiologists have been providing in person for years.
- The Academy also is working with other groups to implore CMS to either end, or at least delay, the planned Medicare reimbursement cuts for 2021.
- A crisis often shines a light on what is essential, and it has been clear that audiologists’ services in communication and balance are essential. A crisis provides a time to show patients and policymakers that audiologists are experts in this area.
- The Academy needs to focus on the changes that are happening in health care related to this crisis and formalize them and move them into the future to support audiologists’ ability to have accessible and appropriate care for patients.
- Audiologists need to provide this care, document what they do, and charge for services. That is how to establish that audiologists are the experts in this area.
- Members will hopefully access the website and make use of the COVID-19 resources and the e-newsletter that comes out every Friday. These are things that can help audiologists now and well into the future