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Committee views medicare audiology bill

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, today introduced H.R. 2330 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Under the terms of this bill, Medicare beneficiaries would be covered for comprehensive audiology services from audiologists. Audiologists would have the ability to bill and receive reimbursement under the current rules that apply to other Medicare-covered, non-physician services. In addition to the support of Congressman Bilirakis, Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Louis Capps (D-CA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), David McKinley (R-WV), Pat Meehan (R-PA), and Michael Michaud (D-ME) have signed on as cosponsors of the bill.

legislation, hearing loss, medicare covering hearing aidsThe introduction of this bill is an important step in making sure Medicare patients can receive the full range of professional services provided by audiologists and not limit audiology services covered by Medicare to only diagnostic services.

The bill amends Title XVIII of the Social Security Act by adding audiology services to the definition of "medical and other health services." The bill would allow audiologists to be reimbursed by Medicare for:

  • Hearing and balance assessment services
  • Auditory treatment services, including auditory processing and auditory rehabilitation treatment
  • Vestibular treatment
  • Intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring services
  • ASHA is also very pleased to report that the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has come out in favor of the legislation

The bill increases the opportunities for choice by patients. Medicare already reimburses for the services in this legislation when they are provided by other health care professions. It allows audiologists to provide their specialized services to Medicare beneficiaries, while enabling audiologists to choose whether or not to participate, since they may opt out of Medicare participation. The legislation is an important first step in defining audiology as a covered service under the Medicare program and recognizing the professional services provided by an audiologist including diagnostic and rehabilitative services.

Take action today and request your member of Congress cosponsor this legislation. More information about this comprehensive audiology legislation can be found at http://www.asha.org/Advocacy/Comprehensive-Medicare-Coverage-of-Audiology-Services/?utm_source=asha&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ft061313.

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