Have You Heard? (Summer 2021)

Senators Warren, Paul, Grassley, Shaheen, Brown, and Sinema Introduce Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act
On May 19, 2021, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA) of 2021 (S. 1731), along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Representatives Tom Rice (R-SC) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced identical legislation (H.R. 1587) in the House of Representatives. Since its introduction on March 3rd, the House bill has already picked up 32 bipartisan cosponsors.

MAASA will make three important updates to Medicare coverage policies:
  1. Remove the physician order requirement for coverage so that Medicare beneficiaries will have direct access to audiology services;
  2. Authorize Medicare to reimburse audiologists for the Medicare-covered services that they are licensed to provide; and
  3. Reclassify audiologists from suppliers to practitioners within the Medicare system.
MAASA will make much-needed improvements to Medicare statutes to remove red tape, better deploy audiologists within the Medicare system, and streamline access to audiologic care for seniors.

"It seems to me that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to reconsider bureaucratic limitations to health care—including hearing care. So, I believe that the Senate should prioritize the passage of our bill to help seniors get the care that they need," said Senator Warren.

ADA applauds Senators Warren and Paul for their leadership in advancing this important legislation in Congress. For more information, visit www.chooseaudiology.org.    
ADA Members and Leaders Host Dinner to Honor Representative Tom Rice
On May 7th, ADA leaders and member audiologists hosted a dinner to honor Representative Tom Rice (R-SC) in his home district of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Representative Rice, a longstanding advocate for improved access to audiology services for Medicare beneficiaries and the lead sponsor of H.R. 1587, the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA), in the U.S. House of Representatives, was joined by special guest, Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA). Audiologists from South Carolina and around the country joined in person and via Zoom to recognize Representative Tom Rice and to thank him for his support of MAASA.    
ADA leaders and South Carolina audiologists toast Representative Tom Rice and Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler and their support of the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act.
Representative Tom Rice (Center) with Dr. Victor Bray (Left) and Dr. Jonette Owen (Right).
Representative Tom Rice (Left) and Dr. Kristin Davis (Right)

Mobilize to Make MAASA Move
MAASA has great momentum in the 117th Congress already—but it will take grassroots efforts to get it passed and enacted. Mobilize and take action today—it is easy as 1,2,3.
  1. Contact your legislators. Use the Congressional Connect tool. Follow up frequently by calling legislators to voice your support for H.R. 1587 and S. 1731. Contact Adam Haley at ahaley@audiologist.org to set up a virtual meeting with your members of Congress or their legislative staffs.
  2. Donate to the Eric N. Hagberg Advocacy Fund to support ADA’s advocacy efforts through professional legislative strategists. Visit www.chooseaudiology.org/donate.
  3. Tell your friends, colleagues, patients, and family members to contact their legislators to share their personal stories about why MAASA matters.    
ADA Applauds Passage of the Audiology Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact in 10 States
On March 31st Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE) signed into law the Audiology Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (ASLP-IC) making Nebraska the 10th state to enact the law, formally beginning the process of enacting the compact in the member states. Nebraska joins Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming in being among the first 10 states to enact the ASLP-IC. Georgia has also since enacted the legislation and it has been introduced in nine additional states.

With passage of the ASLP-IC, the process now moves to implementation, with audiologists and speech language pathologists from the participating states coming together as a commission to write the regulations that will govern the compact and provide oversight of providers. The commission will soon convene to establish rules and bylaws and implement the shared interstate licensure data system that will allow for instant verification of good standing. This setup process typically takes 12 to 14 months, meaning the Commission could begin issuing privileges to practice by summer 2022.

States will continue to license practitioners on their own, but now those providers who maintain an active and unencumbered license in their home state can obtain a privilege to practice in participating member states. Providers will be required to practice to the standard of the state in which they are practicing and can be subject to disciplinary action that will be shared with their home state’s licensing board. This helps ensure that the compact will provide access to high-quality care for audiology patients and offer a high degree of patient safety protections across state lines.

The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) is excited to support this initiative and has been working with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and state audiology associations across the country to help enact this legislation. For more information about the ASLP-IC, contact ADA Director of Public Policy Adam Haley, at ahaley@audiologist.org.    
AuDacity 2021: Audiology Unleashed, October 25-27 in Portland, OR
Unleash your potential along with outstanding education, networking opportunities, and fun at AuDacity 2021: Audiology Unleashed! The excitement begins on October 25th at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront in Portland, Oregon. For questions and general information, please contact Brian Doty at bdoty@audiologist.org.    
AuDacity 2021 to Feature Keynote Addresses By Kevin Franck and Claudia Gordon
Kevin Franck, Ph.D., MBA is Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing and New Product Planning at Frequency Therapeutics, where he leads pre-commercial strategy and launch planning for the company’s clinical pipeline. His prior experience includes serving as Director of Audiology for Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Dr. Franck previously served as Head of Marketing for Bose Hear, a division of Bose Corporation, where he led new product management and channel marketing of an emerging category of business focused on hearing loss. Dr. Franck co-founded Ear Machine, a startup funded by the National Institutes of Health before it was acquired by Bose in 2014. He is the incoming Board Chair of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Claudia L. Gordon is Director of Government and Compliance with T-Mobile Accessibility, a Business Unit within T-Mobile that offers communication products and services to reduce or eliminate communication barriers for customers with disabilities. Claudia was a member of the Obama Administration from December 2009 to January 2017 initially serving as Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and then as OFCCP’s Chief of Staff. From July 2013 to March 2014, Claudia was assigned to the White House Office of Public Engagement where she served as the liaison to the disability community and advised on disability policies. Prior to DOL, she was a Senior Policy Advisor with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. She is a former staff attorney with the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center and has also worked as a consulting attorney with the National Council on Disability.

Agenda Highlights Include:
Monday, October 25, 2021
Preconference Workshops
Concurrent Sessions beginning 1:00 p.m.
Keynote presentation by Kevin Franck, Ph.D., MBA
Opening Reception in Exhibit Hall

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
General Sessions featuring the following:
Breakfast Symposium on Telehealth
Keynote speaker Claudia Gordon, Esq.
Exhibits and Networking

Wednesday, October 27, 2021
ADA Student Business Plan Competition
Concurrent Sessions
ADA Member Meeting

Visit audiologist.org/2021 for more information.