AUDIENT Alliance Formed to Meet Hearing Needs of Low-Income Clients Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight & Hearing (NLFSH), a Seattle-based organization, has formed a nonprofit alliance for access to hearing care for low-income populations. The new AUDIENT hearing health care alliance will build collaborative efforts among hearing instrument and earmold manufacturers and licensed hearing health care providers. AUDIENT’s mission, according ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   March 01, 2005
AUDIENT Alliance Formed to Meet Hearing Needs of Low-Income Clients
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Hearing & Speech Perception / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   March 01, 2005
AUDIENT Alliance Formed to Meet Hearing Needs of Low-Income Clients
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 5-20. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB2.10032005.5
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 5-20. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB2.10032005.5
Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight & Hearing (NLFSH), a Seattle-based organization, has formed a nonprofit alliance for access to hearing care for low-income populations. The new AUDIENT hearing health care alliance will build collaborative efforts among hearing instrument and earmold manufacturers and licensed hearing health care providers.
AUDIENT’s mission, according to a NLFSH press release, is to “meet the needs of licensed hearing health care providers who want to give access to high-quality hearing health care to low-income patients around the United States who are income-qualified.”
According to Fred Minifie, a former ASHA president and chair of the board that oversees the alliance, the program “will provide excellent opportunities for audiologists and AuD training programs to provide high-quality, fully digital hearing aids at very low cost to financially needy individuals.”
The Healthy People 2010 initiative of the U.S. Public Health Service identifies significant disparities for low-income populations in access to hearing care services. NLFSH also intends expanding the AUDIENT process into developing countries. As a 501(c)(3) organization, all revenues from the alliance will be directed into its charitable global mission.
NLFSH will manage the AUDIENT Alliance process as a third-party administrator, and will perform the income qualification, collect funds from the patient, manage the database of outcome measures from patients, and obtain high-quality digital hearing aids. Costs and pricing are designed to be reasonable. Providers will agree to provide comprehensive hearing health care, including an audiological diagnostic examination, treatment planning and determining clinical candidacy for the digital BTE hearing aids, fitting and dispensing earmolds, providing the hearing aid fitting service and two follow-up aural rehabilitation visits to patients.
The costs for products and services will be the same for all patients and all providers. The provider will be reimbursed a flat fee of $280 for monaural and $350 for binaural fittings. The patient’s total cost for hearing aids, earmolds, shipping and handling, will be $319 for digital BTE devices with volume control and $345 for the upgraded power or directional microphone version. Low-cost financing will be available to patients.
The AUDIENT process, products, and services are only available to low-income patients who qualify. “We don’t intend to take any business away from existing markets,” said Mike Langhout of NLFSH.
In the United States, income-level needs in order to qualify for the AUDIENT process will be set at 250% of the federal poverty guidelines. If the guideline changes, the income qualifications will change. Under the current guideline, the household income maximum for an individual would be $23,500 annually.
For more information, visit the Audient Alliance Web site, or request a brochure or information by e-mail at info@audientalliance.org, or call 1-877-283-4368.
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March 2005
Volume 10, Issue 3