July 19, 2023
The American Academy of Audiology (AAA), Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) have endorsed the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation introduced today by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Charles Grassley (R-IA) that will provide seniors with more timely and robust access to services provided by audiologists.
The bill is an updated version of similar legislation introduced in previous Congresses that reflects input from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and would:
- Provide Medicare coverage of both diagnostic and treatment services provided by audiologists starting in 2025.
- Remove the physician order requirement so beneficiaries have improved access to audiologists, addressing claim denials associated with use of the AB modifier.
- Reclassify audiologists as practitioners under the Medicare statute, enabling services to be furnished through telehealth beyond the current December 31, 2024, expiration of such authority.
Similar legislation secured significant bipartisan, bicameral support in previous Congresses, most recently garnering 54 cosponsors in the House and eight in the Senate during the 117th Congress. Key provisions to allow reimbursement for treatment services and provide practitioner status were also included in legislation passed by the House in 2021. We look forward to building on this momentum in the 118th Congress and ensuring that audiologists can provide the full range of Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services that correspond to their scope of practice, just as they do under other programs and payers, so that seniors receive more appropriate, timely, and cost-effective audiologic care.
AAA, ADA, and ASHA thank Senators Warren, Paul, and Grassley for reintroducing this legislation (which is expected to be introduced in the U.S. House soon) and for recognizing that audiologists are expertly educated and uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat hearing and balance conditions that lead to depression, social isolation, dementia, and other serious health conditions that impact millions of seniors. Our groups will continue to closely collaborate to build support for enactment of this critical legislation and empower our members to advocate for its support.