The Academy represents the interests of audiologists on federal legislative matters impacting the practice of audiology by monitoring the activities of the U.S. Congress. The Academy strives to keep its members updated on current legislation, while engaging lawmakers on key issues to ensure the voice of audiology is heard on Capitol Hill.
Legislative Initiatives in the 116th Congress
The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (Joint Bill: AAA, ASHA and ADA)The Academy has been working collaboratively with ASHA and ADA on this legislation that will:
- Give audiologists additional opportunities under Medicare by reclassification as “practitioners,”
- Allow for direct access by Medicare patients to audiologists, and
- Expand covered audiologic services beyond diagnosis to include treatment.
This major legislative initiative will help align audiologists with other doctoral-level health professionals under the Medicare program. Being classified as a practitioner under the Medicare program also grants audiologists the ability to opt-out of Medicare should they so choose.
Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act of 2019 (Amended into HR 2781)<
The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act of 2019, sponsored by Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was introduced on July 9, 2019. The text of this bill was amended into another larger bill and later passed the full House. On October 30, 2019 Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a Senate companion to the bill, increasing the legislation’s outlook for passage. To recap, this legislation would make scholarships and stipends available to students underrepresented in the professions of audiology, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy (including those who are racial or ethnic minorities) or students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible students must also have a financial need for assistance and be enrolled in a qualifying professional program. The American Academy of Audiology is included in the list of professional organizations able to make recommendations about the awarding of these resources and educational programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE) are among the qualifying educational programs. This bill would authorize the distribution of five million dollars per year for five years.