This Year in Review details how the American Academy of Audiology mobilized its legislative, regulatory, and political resources to advocate for audiologists on critical issues facing the profession. Of note, the Academy came together with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to draft, secure congressional champions, and lobby additional support for the Medicare Audiology Access and Services Act of 2019 (H.R. 4056, S. 2446).
This legislation would grant audiologists “practitioner” status in Medicare, remove the physician referral requirement, and allow audiologists to provide and be reimbursed for diagnostic and treatment services. The Academy also weighed in on multiple legislative proposals on hearing aid coverage, telehealth, and allied health workforce diversity.
The Academy was able to work with congressional staff to get “practitioner” status and “treatment services” added to a Medicare hearing aid bill that was ultimately included in H.R. 3—the House drug pricing package—that subsequently passed the House of Representatives.
In addition, the Academy submitted formal comments to two congressional committees to highlight the role that audiologists play in reducing the risk of falls in older adults as well as the benefit of expanding access to audiology services in rural areas.
The year ahead promises to be a busy one and the Academy will continue to advocate on all fronts and seek out new opportunities to ensure the continued success of the profession.