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November 20, 2023

Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

Credit: Hearing and Health Matters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, November 17, 2023, Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8) introduced the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act of 2023, H.R. 6445, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Backed by 12 bipartisan original co-sponsors, the legislation will make overdue technical improvements to Medicare statutes to remove red tape, better deploy audiologists within the Medicare system, and streamline access to audiologic care for beneficiaries.

“Medicare reimbursement policies should be patient-centered and maximize patient choice whenever possible. Updating these policies to allow licensed audiologists to fully participate in Medicare will bring greater parity and provide seniors with improved access to hearing health and balance care.”

–Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12)

Improving Access to Audiological Care for Seniors

The Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act encompasses crucial updates to Medicare statutes, including:

  • Complete removal of the pre-treatment order requirement for Medicare Part B coverage, enabling beneficiaries to directly seek assistance from audiologists for hearing and balance concerns.
  • Authorization for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reimburse audiologists for Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services within their licensed scope of practice.
  • Reclassification of audiologists as practitioners under the Medicare statute, guaranteeing continued access to audiology services through telehealth for beneficiaries.

“We commend Representatives Bilirakis and Cartwright for advocating the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act, which will cut treatment delays and out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries seeking hearing and balance services that significantly enhance their health, safety, and overall well-being,” stated Dawn Heiman, Au.D., President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.

“This pivotal legislation aligns Medicare Part B policies with evidence-based practices, optimizing clinical outcomes and promoting the efficient allocation of healthcare workforce resources.”

Joining as original co-sponsors for H.R. 6445 are Members of Congress Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Nancy Mace (R-SC-1), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-At Large), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), David Trone (D-MD-6), Daniel Webster (R-FL-11), Steve Cohen (D-TN-9), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), and Mark Pocan (D-WI-2).

The Senate counterpart, S. 2377, was introduced on July 19, 2023, by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and currently boasts 10 bipartisan co-sponsors.