The American Academy of Audiology (Academy), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA,) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) submitted a Statement for the Record in advance of a hearing convened by the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee titled “Charting the Path Forward for Telehealth.” The joint statement points out the current impediments to Medicare beneficiary access to audiology/tele-audiology services.
Outdated Medicare laws classify audiologists as “suppliers” rather than “practitioners,” excluding them from the list of health-care professionals authorized by statute to be reimbursed for services provided through telehealth.
Audiology services are also misclassified as “other diagnostic tests.” This misclassification requires Medicare beneficiaries to first obtain a physician order for coverage of audiology diagnostic services. It also unfairly prohibits Medicare patients from using their Medicare benefits for covered hearing and balance treatment services when those services are delivered by a Medicare-qualified audiologist—even though audiologists are specifically trained and licensed in all U.S. jurisdictions to perform Medicare-covered hearing and balance treatment services.
The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R. 1587) would permanently remove the existing barriers to Medicare beneficiary access to tele-audiology services, remove the physician order requirement and allow coverage of both diagnostic and treatment services.
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