The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) has announced that US Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) reintroduced the Audiology Patient Choice Act, HR 2519, on May 21, 2015. The ADA says this bi-partisan legislation, originally introduced in 2014, is intended to bring Medicare in line with best practices in hearing health care by improving patient access to audiology services and promoting models of care that have been proven safe, efficient, and effective.
“There is no better way to commemorate Better Hearing and Speech Month than by introducing legislation that will provide older Americans with the same freedom of choice and access to safe, efficient audiologic care as the rest of us enjoy,” said ADA President Kim Cavitt, AuD. “This legislation will foster exceptional patient outcomes within Medicare, and it will do so in a manner that is fiscally responsible and functionally sustainable.”
According to ADA, the Audiology Patient Choice Act, HR 2519, will:
- Improve access to qualified, licensed Medicare providers, by allowing seniors with a suspected hearing or balance disorder to seek treatment directly from audiologists, eliminating medical doctor order requisites for care;
- Allow patients to choose from among all qualified providers by authorizing Medicare to reimburse audiologists for the services that Medicare already covers and audiologists are already licensed to provide; and
- Address the medical doctor workforce shortage confronting our country, while helping to meet the increasing demand for health care services by the growing Medicare population, through the inclusion of audiologists in the list of Medicare-recognized physicians (chiropractors, dentists, doctors of osteopathy, medical doctors, optometrists and podiatrists).
The Audiology Patient Choice Act was carefully constructed to promote high-quality, cost-effective audiology care for Medicare patients, reports the ADA. For a complete overview of the benefits of the bill, read the ADA issue brief, The Audiology Patient Choice Act: Advancing Care Under Medicare.
According to ADA, HR 2519 will not:
- Expand or add new services to the Medicare program;
- Expand or modify an audiologist’s scope of practice;
- Impact state licensure requirements for the practice of audiology; or
- Increase patient risk or compromise quality of care.