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Talking Points

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ADA, the American Academy of Audiology, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and their allies will seek to amend Title XVIII (18) of the Social Security Act to reclassify audiologists as practitioners for purposes of furnishing audiology services under the Medicare Program and to enable Medicare beneficiaries to have their choice of qualified audiologist.

Key talking points to share with your colleagues:

Supporters of the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R. 1587 / S.1731) seek the adoption of federal legislation necessary to complete the movement to full professional autonomy for audiology. It will do this in three main ways: 1) Establish practitioner status for audiologists under Medicare, 2) Provide Medicare coverage for the full scope of audiology practice permitted under state license and 3) Remove the requirement that a physician order audiology services for them to be covered.

The legislation would not affect how each state defines its own scope of practice nor how each state defines its own limited license physician status. Nor would it add hearing aids to Medicare coverage nor grant prescriptive or ordering rights to audiologists. Those further steps to achieve complete professional autonomy and to meet the full hearing health care needs of the public will be taken once the federal legislation is adopted. The federal legislation would permit those audiologists who choose to do so to opt out of the Medicare program.

Besides moving audiologists a long way further down the road to full professional autonomy, the Medicare Audiologist Access and Servies Act legislation should produce very substantial cost savings for taxpayers and much improved quality of care for patients.

We hope this gives you enough summary information about the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act to begin to spread the word to your professional colleagues and associates.