Grassroots Advocacy Network

Grassroots Advocacy Network

Grassroots advocacy is key to ensuring that audiologists’ interests are represented on Capitol Hill. It is important for members of Congress to hear directly from audiologists, especially as they consider issues that will impact the profession. If you are interested in advancing audiology policy initiatives and participating in advocacy activities, sign up to be a part of the Academy’s Grassroots Advocacy Network. The Network serves as a ready resource of volunteers to assist the Government Relations Committee (GRC) and the Political Action Committee (PAC) Advisory Board to promote the organization’s policy agenda on behalf of the profession of audiology. By signing up to be a part of the Network, you are showing your willingness to develop relationships with congressional representatives and engage in important advocacy outreach whether it means sending a letter to congressional champions or setting up an in-person meeting. The Academy staff, GRC, and PAC Advisory Board will provide Network participants with orientation materials and key messages on current policy items. 

Grassroots Toolkit

Educate Yourself!

Through our upcoming "Welcome Orientation Webinar"

Read our overview of Legislative Issues in the 116th Congress

Staying informed with the Issue Briefs:

Medicare already covers a range of hearing health services, and audiologists are trained and licensed in all fifty states and the District of Columbia to perform these services. However, Medicare currently does not recognize audiologists as providers of most hearing-related services and will only allow reimbursement for a narrow set of tests to diagnose a hearing or balance disorder—and only if patients first obtain an order from a physician. Medicare’s rules are far more restrictive than many private and federal insurance plans. The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act ensures that Medicare beneficiaries have access to a full range of hearing and balance health care services provided by licensed audiologists. Read the full Issue Brief
The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act of 2019, sponsored by Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was introduced on July 9, 2019. To recap, this legislation would make scholarships and stipends available to students underrepresented in the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy (including those who are racial or ethnic minorities) or students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible students must also have a financial need for assistance and be enrolled in a qualifying professional program. The American Academy of Audiology is included in the list of professional organizations able to make recommendations about the awarding of these resources and educational programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE) are among the qualifying educational programs. This bill would authorize the distribution of five million dollars per year for five years. On July 11, 2019, the text of this bill was amended into HR 2781—The EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019—during a legislative markup in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.  On July 17, 2019, HR 2781 as amended was approved by the full Energy and Commerce Committee and will now advance to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives. 
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) will be reintroducing the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act in the 116th Congress (H.R. 2550 in the 115th Congress). This legislation identifies audiologists as appropriate providers of telehealth services and authorizes Medicare to reimburse them for providing patients with audiology services via telehealth. Currently, audiologists are not considered eligible providers of telehealth services because Medicare restricts the delivery of such services to specific provider types. The legislation would expand the list of eligible providers and related covered services to include audiologists among other health care professionals. It would also remove geographic barriers that exist under current law and include the provision of telehealth services in rural, underserved, and metropolitan areas. The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act expands upon the list of providers eligible for reimbursement for telehealth under Medicare to include audiologists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) is planning on reintroducing the Access to Frontline Care Act in the 116th Congress (H.R. 2042 in the 115th Congress) in the U.S. House of Representatives. If enacted, the legislation would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a Frontline Providers Loan Repayment Program under which HHS would make student loan repayments in exchange for health professionals providing two years of service in a health care facility serving a frontline scarcity area. Frontline areas are specifically defined by the federal government as having a shortage of health practitioners or having a shortage of frontline care services. Audiology services are specifically included in the legislation as frontline care services, recognizing the important role that audiologists play in the delivery of health care.

Issue Brief

Academy Endorses Access to Frontline Health Care Act of 2017.

House Version (H.R. 2042)

Take Action!

Additional Resources