The Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2009 (HR 3024) has been introduced in the 111th Congress, says the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), Reston, Va.

The bill is identical to HR 1665 from last Congress and Rep Mike Ross (D-Ark) has taken the lead again this session, along with 13 original cosponsors. In the 110th Congress, HR 1665 garnered 108 cosponsors, says the Academy.
The recently introduced measure eliminates the need for Medicare patients to obtain a physician referral prior to visiting an audiologist for an evaluation. Veterans, through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), can receive an audiological exam without first obtaining a physician referral. Federal employees and members of Congress also have direct access to an audiologist. This bill would afford Medicare patients the same direct access to an audiologist, says the Academy.
Members of the Academy have been talking with leadership from the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) regarding possible modifications to the direct-access bill. While Ross has reintroduced the bill retaining the language from the previous Congress, Academy leaders say they are encouraged by the collaborative efforts of both groups.
Visit the Academy’s Legislative Action Center to contact your representative to urge support for HR 3024.

Last Congress, most prominent organizations in the field of audiology endorsed the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act, and the Academy says it is hopeful for their support again this session.
[Source: The American Academy of Audiology]