AT News May 2012
From the President
Let Me Hear from You: The Audiologist Are Coming!By Therese Walden, AuD
No truer words were spoken by the 2012 AudiologyNOW! Program Chair, Karen Jacobs, when she and an equally crazy film crew ran (or shall I say galloped) through the great city of Boston to provide convention attendees with a fun-filled, fact-filled, and hilarious video travelogue to open General Assembly on March 29, 2012. Dr. Jacobs and the film crew from Convention News TV worked as a team to achieve a common goal: to inform audiologists about the many opportunities at AudiologyNOW! and to do it in a highly amusing way! Read more…
In the News
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Issues Cease and Desist Letter to hi HealthInnovations Regarding Online Hearing TestBased on conversations between the American Academy of Audiology, and other highly concerned organizations, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA has issued a cease and desist letter with regard to the online hearing test offered by hi HealthInnovations. The Academy began discussions with the FDA in early November 2011. Click here for more information and to view the letter.
Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives Directing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to Recognize Tinnitus as a Mandatory Condition for Research and TreatmentCongressman Mike Michaud (D-ME), along with six original cosponsors, introduced H.R.4327—the Tinnitus Research and Treatment Act of 2012. If passed, this legislation would ensure research by the Veterans Administration (VA) is conducted to assess the efficacy of various tinnitus treatments, study the cause of tinnitus in the Veteran population, as well as the effects between hearing loss and tinnitus. Click here to view the bill.
Hearing Journal CorrectionIn the April online and hardcopy issue of the Hearing Journal, the Academy's position with regard to distance learning as a method for education was misrepresented in an article titled "Is the Road to an AuD Worth the Trip?"
In the article, the following statement was attributed to the Academy, "The AAA, however, considers distance learning, with few exceptions, to be potentially 'harmful to the profession and the persons served by audiologists,' according to an Academy policy statement on the issue."
The actual quote from an Academy position statement is found here on the Academy Web site and was published in Audiology Today, Vol. 16:5, 2004, page 15.
Get in the Hearing LoopOver the last few years, the Academy has worked with Hearing Loss Association of America to promote the "Get in the Hearing Loop" campaign, as shown in this recent Washington Post article. We are now seeing that many companies, including Williams Sound, are continuing to offer a full range of leading technology solutions for "Helping People Hear" and induction loops are one of those solutions. "With the resurgence of hearing aids fitted with telecoils, and the joint efforts of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) to promote loop technology, we feel the U.S. marketplace is once again receptive to induction loop products," states Paul Ingebrigtsen, president of Williams Sound. Review the hearing loop resources available and learn more about the campaign. Read more…
Practice Management Tip of the Month: Make Your Patient Feel Special and Important!A check-in phone call a few days after the fitting a hearing aid demonstrates that your office personally cares about the success of your patients' hearing-aid trial. Consider utilizing a staff member with excellent phone skills to call a patient 24 to 48 hours after fitting a hearing aid to touch base and answer basic questions that may arise after a new hearing-aid fitting. This is also a great way to identify and resolve potential problems with a hearing aid fitting early in the trial process. Read more…
Audiology in Top 10 Job List for 2012According to Careercast.com, a job search Web site, audiologist is number six on its list of Top 10 Jobs for 2012. In general terms, CareerCast reviews the profession's environment, income, outlooks, stress level, and physical demands. Read more…
STAR Applications Due July 1, 2012The Student Travel Awards Reimbursement (STAR) program offers outstanding audiology graduate students funding to attend meetings in the hearing sciences (as well as other sciences relating to student coursework). Selected students will receive a stipend of up to $500 for conference registration, transportation, and/or lodging expenses. Read more…
Hear What All the Positive Buzz Is About!The dynamic and well-received seminar, Influencer: How to Create Change in Your Audiology Workplace, is available only through June 30, 2012, at eAudiology…and it's FREE for Academy members. This informative and entertaining presentation, funded with a grant from Phonak, LLC, was a hit at AudiologyNOW! in Boston. Don't miss this opportunity to discover practical tools and a portable model for changing behaviors that result in better outcomes for your patients. Register now or visit the AAA Foundation Web site for more information.
2012 Academy Membership MeetingAcademy members responded positively to the new format of this year's 2012 Academy Membership Meeting (formerly the Academy Business meeting). Following updates from Academy President Therese Walden on Academy initiatives and Treasurer Brian Fligor on Academy's financial position, members had the opportunity to ask questions of Academy leadership, which resulted in an engaging dialogue. Unable to attend? View the Academy's FY11 audited financials on the Web site.
Sessions from AudiologyNOW! 2012 Available on eAudiologyHere's your chance to see what you missed at AudiologyNOW! Fourteen sessions are now available through eAudiology as on-demand Web seminars! Click here for the full list of sessions available. Want to view all of them? Purchase the eAudiology Unlimited On-demand Discount Package! Both Ethics and Tier 1 hours are available.
Coding, Reimbursement, and Compliance
Academy Continues to Strenuously Advocate for Increased Reimbursement for OAE CodesOn April 11, 2012, Academy member and Past President Paul Pessis, AuD, along with a representative from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, made a presentation in front of a CMS Refinement Panel, composed of four Medicare medical directors and a CMS facilitator. The Academy successfully secured this opportunity after meeting face-to-face with CMS on March 13, 2012 and sending a written request for reconsideration of OAE values. The objective of the Refinement Panel presentation was to urge the Agency to reconsider the 2012 values assigned to CPT codes 92587 and 92588 in the most recent Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule. Final results are not expected until publication of the Final FY 2013 MPFS anticipated in November 2012.
Academy Submits Comments on CMS Proposal for Reporting OverpaymentsThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed requiring providers to report and return any overpayment 60 days after the date the overpayment is identified. The Academy requests that CMS consider exceptions to the 60-day reporting timeframe based upon practice size because the expectations for provider audit and compliance monitoring are highly burdensome and costly for smaller practices. In addition, it is the Academy's position that the 10-year look-back period is burdensome for providers. Read the Academy's comments here.
Academy Opposes Palmetto GBA Medicare Denials of CPT Code 92557In response to membership feedback, the American Academy of Audiology sent a reconsideration letter to Dr. Arthur Lurvey, Medical Director of Palmetto GBA, opposing the denials being issued for billing CPT code 92557, since it appears that Palmetto GBA is incorrectly applying its Local Coverage Determination (LCD) for Vestibular Function Testing (# 28314) . Initial reports suggest that the denials are the result of a potential system error but the Academy will remain in contact with representatives at Palmetto on this issue and provide further updates as available.
HHS Proposed Rule Delays ICD-10 Compliance Until October 1, 2014On April 9, 2012, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a proposed rule that would delay the compliance date for ICD-10 from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014. This proposed rule has now been posted to the Federal Register, which marks the beginning of the 30-day comment period, with all comments due on May 17, 2012. The Academy will be preparing comments to HHS.
HHS believes the change in the compliance date for ICD-10, as proposed in this rule, will give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition among all industry segments.
The Academy recommends that members continue to move toward compliance with the transition by creating new encounter forms and ensuring compliance with information technology systems. The Academy will offer a sample ICD-10 encounter form template in the near future, as well as a May 8, 2012, coding and reimbursement series session with Kyle Dennis, PhD. Members should check the dedicated ICD-10 page on the Academy's Web site for updated information.
Browse audiology jobs and post your resume for free at www.HEARCareers.org.
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