On Friday, November 17, 2023, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8), introduced the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act of 2023, H.R. 6445, in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of 12 bipartisan original co-sponsors. The legislation will make overdue technical improvements to Medicare statutes to remove red tape, better deploy audiologists within the Medicare system, and streamline access to audiologic care for beneficiaries.
“Medicare reimbursement policies should be patient-centered and maximize patient choice whenever possible,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Updating these policies to allow licensed audiologists to fully participate in Medicare will bring greater parity and provide seniors with improved access to hearing health and balance care.”
The Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act will make the following important updates to Medicare statutes:
- Completely eliminate the pre-treatment order requirement for Medicare Part B coverage so that beneficiaries can go directly to the audiologist for hearing and balance concerns.
- Authorize CMS to reimburse audiologists for the Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services that they are licensed to provide.
- Reclassify audiologists as practitioners under the Medicare statute. This will ensure that beneficiaries have continued access to audiology services via telehealth.
“We applaud Representative Bilirakis and Representative Cartwright for championing the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act to reduce treatment delays and out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries seeking hearing and balance services that will improve their health, safety, and well-being,” said Dawn Heiman, Au.D., President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. “This landmark legislation aligns Medicare Part B policies with evidence-based practices to optimize clinical outcomes, to promote Medicare system efficiencies, and to deploy scarce healthcare workforce resources most judiciously.”
H.R. 6445 original co-sponsors include the following Members of Congress: Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Nancy Mace (R-SC-1), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-At Large), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), David Trone (D-MD-6), Daniel Webster (R-FL-11), Steve Cohen (D-TN-9), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), and Mark Pocan (D-WI-2).
Help Pass the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act!
- If you haven’t done so already, text “otoscope” to 41444 to donate to the Eric N. Hagberg Advocacy Fund.
- Contact your legislators using Congressional Connect to support the House (H.R. 6445) and Senate (S. 2377) versions of the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act!
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