Audiology is in a very odd place in the Medicare system and we need your help. Anyone with Medicare Part B is required to obtain a written physician order before scheduling an appointment to see an Audiologist for a hearing evaluation. What’s ironic is that an Audiologist can evaluate and treat anyone between the ages of birth to 64 without this requirement and only when Medicare part B comes into play, permission is necessary to bill insurance for these services.
The profession of Audiology is asking to modernized. We want to be treated as other practitioners so that Medicare Part B recipients can walk through our doors just as those with private health insurance, Medicare Advantage and VA benefits.
It will take an act of Congress to change the way Audiology is classified in the Medicare system. If enacted, the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act of 2019 will have a positive impact by removing barriers that anyone over the age of 65 with Medicare part B currently encounters.
Audiologists are not asking to increase their scope practice. Audiologists are asking to practice as they were trained to do and to provide the care we all deserve. Last week I lobbied in D.C. with 174 of my colleagues to support of this effort.
Changing Audiology’s classification in Medicare would allow Audiologists to bill insurance for procedures already in their scope of practice. As it currently stands, Audiologists can not bill insurance for ear wax removal or aspects of balance care. We refer to other disciplines who can bill insurance for the same procedures we are trained to execute. It is our mission for Audiology services to be covered and perhaps completed during a single visit rather than sending the patient away with the same problem that they came in with.
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