Our home state WA Representative, Jim McDermott, has introduced the Access to Hearing Healthcare Act of 2014 (H.R. 4035, direct access legislation). This bill eliminates the need for Medicare patients to obtain a physician referral prior to visiting an audiologist for an evaluation. Studies have shown a significant cost savings for the Medicare program if it adopts this legislation and it will allow more people access to hearing health services.
Audiologists are master's and doctoral level professionals holding state licensure in all states and the
District of Columbia. In fact, audiologists
are the only professionals who are university trained and licensed to
specifically identify, evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing disorders. The
Medicare requirement for a physician referral pre-empts state licensure laws
which currently allow patient's direct access to audiologists. Veterans, through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for example, have been allowed direct
access to audiologists for over 15 years, with successful and cost-saving results. Members of
Congress and federal employees may also access audiologists directly through
the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP).
Beneficiaries in the Medicare program should have the same freedom to access audiologists for covered hearing and balance testing.
Federal employees and members of Congress have direct access to audiologists. This bill would afford Medicare patients the same direct access to an audiologist. Please support this legislation by clicking here and sending a message to your congressman:
Click here to support Direct Access: