Have You Heard? (October 2019)

Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act Introduced with Broad Bi-Partisan Support to Streamline Access to Hearing And Balance Care
The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) commends U.S. Representatives Tom Rice (R-SC), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Brad Schneider (D-IL), and Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE) on the introduction of the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act of 2019 (H.R. 4056), and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) on the introduction of the Senate companion bill, (S. 2446).

“Seniors who suffer from hearing conditions shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to see their preferred audiologist, said Representative Tom Rice. “The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act cuts through the red tape to help Medicare patients access quality, affordable care. I will continue to reach across the aisle to find straightforward solutions to health care problems.”

Outdated Medicare rules make it more difficult for seniors experiencing hearing loss to get the care they need,” said Senator Warren. “Our bill would clear the roadblocks that stand in the way of Medicare beneficiaries, and make audiology services more accessible.”

The Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R 4056/S. 2446) can improve outcomes and reduce barriers to care by allowing Medicare beneficiaries to seek treatment directly from audiologists if they suspect they have a hearing or balance problem. The legislation will streamline Medicare coverage policies so that audiologists can provide the full range of Medicare-covered diagnostic and treatment services that correspond to their scope of practice. In addition, the legislation will reclassify audiologists as practitioners within the Medicare system, so that they can be deployed more effectively. “Hearing and balance disorders become more prevalent with age and, if left untreated, pose significant health, social, and financial risks,” said Ram Nileshwar, Au.D., ADA President. “ADA applauds Representative Rice and his colleagues for acting to remove impediments to the delivery of efficient, high-quality hearing and balance health care for millions of Medicare beneficiaries across the country.”

In addition to achieving broad-based bi-partisan support in Congress, the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act has also been enthusiastically endorsed by leading audiology and consumer organizations including ADA, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).

“ADA staff and leaders are proud to work alongside our esteemed colleagues to advocate for better access to care for our patients and to ensure that audiologists are classified within the Medicare system in a manner that reflects their extensive training, education, and scope of practice,” said Dr. Nileshwar.    
There's Still Time to Register for ADA Lobby Day—Don’t Miss This Opportunity
On November 14th, 150 audiologists are expected to converge on Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress to encourage support of the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (H.R. 4056/ S. 2446). ADA There is still time to register—please contact Adam Haley at ahaley@audiologist.org or 866-493-5544 by October 30th.    
ADA Now Accepting Participants for Mastermind Groups
ADA is now taking applications for Mastermind Groups. The term “Mastermind Group” is a long-recognized peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to facilitate problem solving using small groups of peers dedicated to helping each other succeed. The Mastermind Group concept was originally introduced by author Napoleon Hill in the early 20th Century.

ADA is pleased to facilitate Audiology Mastermind Groups for its members through its GotoMeeting web platform. Group leaders will be provided access to set up and use the virtual meeting space and each Mastermind group will have complete autonomy. The meetings will be exclusive to the audiologist participants. ADA staff will be available to contact for technical troubleshooting if needed but will not participate in the meetings.

Meeting discussions will be private and confidential to each group. Each Mastermind group will independently determine topics for discussion and the structure and frequency of the meetings. Each group will consist of 8–12 non-competing audiologists. ADA members only.

Please contact Stephanie Czuhajewski at sczuhajewski@audiologist.org for more information.    
Drs. Bray and Sjoblad Elected to Serve on the ADA Board of Directors
The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) is pleased to announce that the following fellow members have been elected to serve on the ADA Board of Directors:

Victor Bray, Ph.D., has been elected to serve as president-elect for the organization. Dr. Bray is an associate professor at Salus University Osborne College of Audiology and holds a Ph.D. degree in Speech & Hearing Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Stephanie Sjoblad, Au.D. has been elected to serve as a director-at-large for the organization. Dr. Sjoblad is the audiology clinic director and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds an Au.D. degree from the University of Florida.

Dr. Bray and Dr. Sjoblad will begin their terms on January 1, 2020. Returning to the board in 2020 are the following board members: Deb Abel, Au.D. (President), Ram Nileshwar, Au.D. (Immediate Past President), Audra Brooks, Au.D., Kristin Davis, Au.D., Rachel Magann Faivre, Au.D., and Tim Steele, Ph.D.