NIU SAA Becomes First University Chapter to Endorse the Audiology Patient Choice Act of 2014

The Northern Illinois University (NIU) Chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology became the first university SAA Chapter to endorse the Audiology Patient Choice Act (H.R. 5304), since the bi-partisan bill was introduced in Congress on July 31st by Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA).

“ADA commends NIU audiology students for their support of this landmark legislation,” said ADA President Kim Cavitt, Au.D. “H.R. 5304 will provide enhanced access to safe, efficient audiologic care for Medicare patients, and it will also ensure that audiologists are reimbursed by Medicare in a fashion that reflects best current practices in hearing healthcare delivery, consistent with their licensure and training.”

The Audiology Patient Choice Act, if enacted, will:
  • Improve access to qualified, licensed Medicare providers, by allowing seniors with a suspected hearing or balance disorder to seek treatment directly from audiologists, eliminating archaic medical doctor order requirements.
  • Allow patients to choose among qualified providers for Medicare-covered audiologic services by authorizing Medicare to reimburse audiologists for the Medicare-covered services that they are licensed to provide. These services are already covered by Medicare when delivered by other providers.
  • Address the medical doctor workforce shortage confronting our country, while helping to meet the increasing demand for health care services by the growing Medicare population, through the inclusion of audiologists in the list of Medicare-recognized physicians (chiropractors, dentists, doctors of osteopathy, medical doctors, optometrists and podiatrists).

The Audiology Patient Choice Act was carefully constructed to promote high-quality, cost-effective audiologic care for Medicare patients. The legislation will not:
  • Expand or add new services to the Medicare program
  • Expand or modify an audiologist’s scope of practice
  • Impact state licensure requirements for the practice of audiology
  • Increase patient risk or compromise quality of care

“The efforts of the NIU audiology students to advance best practices in patient care through the support of the Audiology Patient Choice Act demonstrate exactly the type of visionary leadership that we expect and need for the future of the audiology profession,” said Dr. Cavitt.

For more information about the Audiology Patient Choice Act, please visit www.18x18.org and ADA’s AuDvocacy Action Center:

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