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Audiology Today E-Newsletter August 2012

Audiology Today E-Newsletter August 2012

August 01, 2012 E-News


American Academy of Audiology - Audiology Today
August 2012

Let Me Hear from You: Academy Initiatives, Opportunities, and Board Meeting Updates
By Deborah Carlson, PhD
Summer was off to a busy start as the Academy supported our Preferred Futures to ensure that audiologists are known as the preferred health-care providers for hearing and balance wellness (PF1) and expanding the availability and accessibility of hearing and balance care (PF2). Within two weeks we had representation at the HLAA, AGBell, and NAAHP conventions. Read more…
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Stay Social
Utilize an additional "s" for "social" in your SOAP notes to help remember something about your patients that you can bring up at their next appointment. If they mention they are about to take a trip, vacation, or have any other fun social and special events coming up—such as a wedding or anniversary—make a note of it in the chart so that you can ask them about it when you see them again. It adds another personal touch, and lets them know that you listen and remember things about them. Read more…
AAA Foundation Funding for SAA Chapters: Special Olympics Healthy Hearing (SOHH) Participation Grant Applications Now Available
University SAA chapters can receive up to $250 to offset costs associated with participating in local, regional, and/or state SOHH events. Applications are due October 1, 2012. Read more…
Call for Presentations for AudiologyNOW! 2013
The submission system opens on August 15, 2012. Share your research and knowledge with your fellow audiologists to help advance the profession. Go to for details on the submission process, the educational program, hotels, rates, and more.
JAAA CEU Program—An Incredible Value!
For less than $6 per CEU, the Journal CEU program is a great way to earn up to 1.6 CEUs each year for only $95. The Journal and assessments are available online. Tier 1 credit also available. Read more…
PQRS—Proposed Changes: Action Required in 2013 to Avoid Disincentives in 2015
To assist you with reporting on the 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) eligible measures for audiologists, the Academy has created an Easy Reference Guide to walk you through reporting on each of the four measures.

For all Medicare claims submitted on or after January 1, 2013, health-care providers who do not report on eligible PQRS measures will experience a retroactive disincentive of -1.5 percent beginning in the year 2015, and the disincentive is scheduled to increase each year until 2016, with disincentives beyond 2016 unknown at this time. As such, the Academy continues to encourage all Medicare Part B audiologists to report on eligible measures sooner rather than later to allow time to acclimate yourself with the process.

The 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule intends to retire two of the four current eligible measures for audiologists:
  • # 189, Referral for Otologic Evaluation for Patients with a History of Active Drainage From The Ear Within the Previous 90 Days
  • #190, Referral for Otologic Evaluation for Patients with History of Sudden or Rapidly Progressive Hearing Loss
The Academy will be issuing comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opposing the retirement of these codes (more information on the Rule is below).

Check the Academy's dedicated PQRS Web page for further information on the eligible measures and how to report. Additionally, CMS has made available a short video introduction to PQRS which may be found on YouTube.
2013 Proposed Medicare Fee Schedule Rule Released for Comment
On July 6, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule for Medicare Part B services paid under the Physician Fee Schedule in calendar year 2013. Implications for audiologists include lower reimbursements if Congress does not intervene to prevent across-the-board cuts to Medicare providers due to the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Additionally, as referenced above, two audiology-reportable quality measures under the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) are proposed for retirement as well as a payment adjustment effective in 2015 for the failure to properly report under PQRS. Read the Academy's analysis on these and other changes proposed in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. Academy staff and volunteers are drafting comments to submit to CMS prior to the September 4, 2012, deadline. A final rule, which will address comments submitted in September, will be issued by November 1, 2012, and will be effective for services performed on or after January 1, 2013.
ICD-10: Compliance Date of October 1, 2013, Delayed, But Be Prepared for Transition
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a planned delay in the ICD-10 compliance date. The transition to ICD-10 was scheduled to occur on October 1, 2013, but as of July 18, 2012, CMS was still reviewing comments, including the letter submitted by the Academy, regarding the altered date of compliance. The Academy will update members when the new compliance date is announced. In the interim, the Academy encourages audiologists to continue to prepare for the transition and offers several resources on the Academy's dedicated ICD-10 Web page.
Regulators Release HIPAA Audit Protocol and Offer Insight into Best Practices
Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) made public detailed audit protocols, used to audit organizational HIPAA compliance. The HITECH Act requires audits to check compliance with HIPAA privacy and security rules. Covered entities, such as health-care practices, should review the protocols, which offer indications of government enforcement priorities and provide a "road map" of HHS OCR's interests. The protocols are voluminous—77 individual entries dealing with HIPAA security and 88 individual entries dealing with privacy and breach concerns—and include detailed items such as how to assign workforce security to manage the levels of staff access to information systems that contain electronic PHI, or how to determine that an organization obtains proper authorization to use and disclose a patient's PHI. Those tasked with ensuring HIPAA compliance at your practice will want to compare the OCR protocols with the existing HIPAA compliance structure.

Learn more about the OCR Audit Pilot Program or download the HHS Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security of Health Information for your health practice.
Practitioner Billing Incident-To Leads to Health Care Fraud Plea
The Texas attorney general has cracked down on state and federal health-care fraud violations related to Medicare incident-to rules and improper billing. Read a summary of the case and review a press release from the TX AG's office. The Academy encourages members to review the CMS Manual 100-02, Chapter 15, Sections 80.3 and 60.1 for an update regarding current Medicare incident-to billing requirements.
...routinely waiving deductibles or co-insurance can be a violation of the Medicare False Claims Act and/or the anti-kick-back statute? Routinely waiving co-pays may be seen as an inducement to drive utilization.

For more information visit the Office of Inspector General of Health and Human Services web site

Pediatric Audiologist

Mission Health System Asheville, NC


PhysIOM Los Angeles, CA

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August 24
Call for Nominations: Academy Board of Directors

September 11
eAudiology Web Seminar: Coding and Reimbursement Series: Understanding PQRS—A Step-by-Step Approach to Recognition and Reimbursement

September 12
eAudiology Web Seminar: Microphone Arrays and Their Applications for Hearing Aids

September 20-22
California Academy of Audiology 13th Annual Conference

September 27-28
Maryland Academy of Audiology 20th Annual Conference

September 30–October 2, 2012
Inner Ear Biology Workshop and Symposium Tubingen DE

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