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AT News June 2012

AT News June 2012

June 01, 2012 E-News


American Academy of Audiology - Audiology Today
June 2012
Let Me Hear from You: Declare Your Independence!
By Therese Walden, AuD

With Independence Day just around the corner, we need to take a moment and declare our independence from some of the legacy issues holding back the great profession of audiology. Primary among these issues is to obtain direct access for Medicare beneficiaries to audiologists. Read more…

Academy Announces Introduction of Direct Access Legislation in U.S. Senate
On May 24, 2012, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced direct access legislation (S. 3242), in the U.S. Senate. This bill serves as the companion bill to H.R. 2140, the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act, introduced by Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR) earlier in this Congressional session. S. 3242/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 have direct access to an audiologist. This bill would afford Medicare patients the same direct access to audiologists. Visit the Academy's Legislative Action Center to locate your elected officials and send an e-mail urging your senators and representative to support this important legislation. Click here for more information.
Academy Expresses Concerns to Federal Agencies Regarding UHC/hi HealthInnovations Online Hearing Benefit
On May 4, 2012, the American Academy of Audiology sent letters to both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to reiterate the patient safety concerns posed by the online hearing test/hearing aid sales offered by United Healthcare/hi HealthInnovations. Additionally, our comments reinforced that the best model for hearing health care includes intervention by a highly qualified health-care provider, such as an audiologist. Click here to view the Academy's letter to the FDA.

In our correspondence to CMS, we assert that the UHC/HHI hearing aid benefit effectively denies to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries a diagnostic service performed by a qualified health professional under Part B that is currently available to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, thereby creating an inequitable level of service problem that necessitates CMS review. CMS responded by letter on May 22, 2012, informing the Academy that CMS plans to monitor the program and has asked HHI to inform CMS in the event they plan to repost the online test for additional review. For more information about the Academy's efforts, including a timeline of events, with regard to UCH/HHI and online hearing aid tests, click here.
Academy Joins Efforts to Contact State Departments of Health Regarding Online Hearing Aid Tests
The Academy, in collaboration with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), the International Hearing Society (IHS), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), sent a letter to every state department of health in the country asking them to advise consumers who suspect that they have hearing loss to seek a comprehensive hearing evaluation by a licensed hearing health-care professional prior to purchasing hearing aids over‐the‐counter or through the Internet. Click here to view the letter. Click here to view the joint press release.
PAC Donations Are Effective Advocacy Tools
PAC dollars serve to assist elected officials in their re-election efforts, and they also afford opportunities for one-on-one interaction with members of Congress to talk about issues important to audiology, such as direct access. Visit the Academy Web site for more information or to make a contribution. Only Academy members can donate to the American Academy of Audiology Inc., PAC
You Think Your Resume Is Ready?
Find out by asking for constructive and qualified feedback. To assist those in the job market, the Academy offers members a FREE resume review service by professional audiologists working in a variety of settings. Read more…
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Adding a Display Case
Place a display case in your waiting area that includes of a variety products. This can include a variety of assistive listening devices such as amplified telephones, TV ears, hearing-aid accessories (blue tooth options, remotes), in addition to options in hearing protection and swimmer's gear. This creates a stronger sense of a professional hearing health-care provider as well in addition to generating point-of-sale revenue for your practice. Read more…
Academy A4 Partner ACAE Receives CHEA Recognition
The Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE) received recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) on May 1, 2012. The CHEA Board of Directors voted to recognize ACAE as an accrediting body for doctoral programs in audiology. A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. Read more…
Influencer Web Seminar: FREE at eAudiology Through June 30
The dynamic and well-received seminar, Influencer: How to Create Change in Your Audiology Workplace, is available only through June 30 at no charge to Academy members. This informative and entertaining presentation, funded with a grant from Phonak, LLC, was a hit at AudiologyNOW! in Boston. Read more…
New Grant Supports JFLAC
In conjunction with the Academy's call for applications for the Jerger Future Leaders of Audiology Conference (JFLAC), AAA Foundation leadership extends thanks and appreciation to Siemens Hearing Instruments for the philanthropic grant that will support the conference. Read more…
Academy Submits Comment Letter to CMS Regarding ICD-10 Coding Compliance Date
On May 17, 2012, the Academy submitted an official comment letter to CMS agreeing with the proposed ICD-10 compliance date of October 1, 2014, and urging CMS to consider an additional one-year delay to 2015 to provide time for audiologists to overcome the unique difficulties faced by small health-care practices. Read More…
Academy Advocates for FM Device Codes at CMS
In collaboration with several audiology organizations and the hearing industry, the Academy, along with the American Doctors of Audiology, the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Educational Audiology Association, and the Hearing Industries Association, submitted an application to CMS for 11 new Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for FM/DM Auditory Devices. The inclusion of DM (digital modulation) will add longevity to the codes as technology advances. In March 2012, CMS released a preliminary decision (subject to public comment) awarding the audiology organizations 10 of the 11 requested codes with certain revisions. The Academy, along with the other audiology organizations, responded to the positive preliminary decision by submitting public comments to CMS. Academy staff, along with ASHA staff, provided in-person comments to CMS on behalf of the audiology organizations on May 9, 2012 at CMS central offices. A final HCPCS code decision is anticipated in November 2012.
Considerations for Audiologists and Third-Party Provider Contracts
The Academy, in collaboration with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has published a document detailing important factors audiologists should consider before signing any contract agreement with third-party payers. This document was developed in response to the increase of third-party payers offering hearing aid benefits. Read more…
… Many states have enacted their own Anti-Kickback and Stark laws? It is important to consult with a local attorney experienced in health-care law when considering any new arrangement or relationship with another health-care provider. For more information see the Web site of the state in which you practice for state Anti-Kickback and Stark laws applicable to the provision of health care in your particular state.

…HIPAA privacy rules require that you have specific written disclaimers on your e-mail communications when discussing patient information? For more information see:
Ambulatory Manager, Audiology and ENT UMass Memorial Medical Center Worcester, MA
Audiologist Austin ENT Associates Austin and Round Rock, TX

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June 21–24
Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Convention, Providence, RI

July 10
eAudiology Web Seminar—Coding and Reimbursement Series: Documentation How To's: If It's Not in the Chart, It Didn’t Happen

July 11
eAudiology Web Seminar—Socialize Your Practice to Success

July 26
eAudiology Web Seminar—Vestibular Grand Rounds

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