Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act
Senators Warren, Paul, Grassley, Shaheen, Brown, and Sinema Introduce Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act
On May 19, 2021, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA) of 2021, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Representatives Tom Rice (R-SC) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced identical legislation (H.R. 1587) in the House of Representatives. Since its introduction on March 3rd, the House bill has already secured 32 bipartisan cosponsors, following significant bipartisan support during the 116th Congress.
MAASA will improve outcomes for beneficiaries by allowing direct access to audiologic services and streamlining Medicare coverage policies so that audiologists can provide the full range of Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services that correspond to their scope of practice. The legislation would also reclassify audiologists as practitioners, which is consistent with other Medicare recognized nonphysician providers. By classifying audiologists as practitioners under Medicare, audiologists would be able to furnish services through telehealth permanently, which is only partially permitted during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency.
"It seems to me that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to reconsider bureaucratic limitations to health care-including hearing care. So, I believe that the Senate should prioritize the passage of our bill to help seniors get the care that they need, said Senator Warren.
AAA, ADA, and ASHA thank Senators Warren and Paul, and Representatives Rice and Cartwright, for championing this legislation and leading efforts to ensure that America’s seniors have timely and robust access to hearing and balance care provided by audiologists. We look forward to working with the entire audiology community to get this important bill passed, signed, and enacted!