Bills Would Increase Audiologists’ Autonomy Audiologists are one step closer to being recognized as autonomous health care providers by Medicare, following introduction in the U.S. Senate of the “Hearing Health Accessibility Act of 2003” (S. 1647). Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced the legislation on Sept. 24. The bill is a ... Policy Analysis
Free
Policy Analysis  |   October 01, 2003
Bills Would Increase Audiologists’ Autonomy
Author Notes
Article Information
Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis   |   October 01, 2003
Bills Would Increase Audiologists’ Autonomy
The ASHA Leader, October 2003, Vol. 8, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.PA2.08192003.3
The ASHA Leader, October 2003, Vol. 8, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.PA2.08192003.3
Audiologists are one step closer to being recognized as autonomous health care providers by Medicare, following introduction in the U.S. Senate of the “Hearing Health Accessibility Act of 2003” (S. 1647). Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced the legislation on Sept. 24. The bill is a companion bill to H.R. 2821 in the House of Representatives, which is sponsored by Reps. Jim Ryun (R-KS) and Lois Capps (D-CA).
These bills would allow Medicare beneficiaries the option of going directly to a qualified audiologist for hearing and balance diagnostic tests. Currently, Medicare requires that beneficiaries with hearing loss or balance disorders obtain a physician referral before seeing an audiologist. ASHA is actively working with other audiology organizations on this legislation.
In addition to Ryun and Capps, H.R. 2821 currently has seven co-sponsors in the House, including Reps. Cass Ballenger (R-NC), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Martin Meehan (D-MA), George Miller (D-CA), Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Robert Wexler (D-FL). Visit ASHA’s Web site at www.asha.org/about/Legislation-Advocacy/ to access copies of H.R. 2821 and S.1647.
Additional co-sponsors are needed for both bills. Please go to ASHA’s Take Action site at http://takeaction.asha.org, where you can send e-mails or letters to your representative and senators asking for their support of H.R. 2821 and S. 1647. Or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s and senators’ Capitol Hill offices.
What should you say to them? Here’s a sample message: “As a constituent, I urge you to co-sponsor the Hearing Health Accessibility Act of 2003. Experience in other government programs, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, suggests that direct access to audiologists avoids unnecessary costs, increased waiting time, and inefficient use of physician resources. Having both physicians and audiologists as entry points to the hearing health care system would greatly improve access to hearing care, especially for Medicare beneficiaries in underserved areas and low-income beneficiaries who may be deterred by the cost of a physician visit.”
For more information, contact Linda Lucas by e-mail at llucas@asha.org or through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4427.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
October 2003
Volume 8, Issue 19