AAA, ADA, and ASHA have been working collaboratively to help shape congressional legislation that could add new hearing benefits to Medicare.
The Senate Finance Committee recently released its version of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), which passed in the House of Representatives last month. This bill contains several provisions critical to audiologists. Like the House bill, the Senate language expands Medicare coverage of treatment services audiologists provide and reclassifies audiologists as “practitioners” under the Medicare statute. The Senate language also removes the physician order requirement that prevents Medicare beneficiaries from directly accessing services provided by audiologists, and provides greater clarity on the distinct roles and responsibilities of professions involved in the dispensing of hearing aids. Coverage of treatment services, removal of the physician order requirement, and “practitioner” status constitute the three core components of the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R. 1587/S. 1731), which AAA, ADA, and ASHA have been championing since 2019.