18x18 Advocates Converge on Capitol Hill to Educate and Inform Legislators

ADA Members: View the archived webinar discussing the 18x18 ADA Member DC Fly-In. Click here.

Washington D.C.— ADA members and volunteer leaders converged on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday, June 12th, to advocate for the audiology profession’s most pressing priority, achievement of 18x18 legislation that will amend Title XVIII (18) by 2018 to:

  • Provide Medicare patients with direct access to audiologists, without requiring a referral from a medical doctor. As medical necessity would still be required for treatment, this would not increase cost—it would only increase efficiency while preserving safe, effective care.
  • Allow seniors to have Medicare coverage of the full range of audiologic health care services offered by audiologists.  In most cases, these services are already covered piece-meal under Medicare when delivered by another provider. 
  • Define audiologists as limited license physicians under the Medicare program.  This is the same status held by other non-medical doctor providers in the Medicare program.

During the inaugural 18x18 D.C. Fly-In, more than two-dozen representatives from ADA and Prime Policy Group attended 45 meetings with U.S. Representatives, Senators and/or members of their staffs.
 
“Our volunteer advocates demonstrated the leadership, passion and commitment that will be required for audiology to achieve 18x18 and with it, true autonomy,” said ADA President, Nancy Green, Au.D. “We were able to provide legislators with concrete information about audiology as a doctoring profession, and to demonstrate why the 18x18 Initiative to Amend Title XVIII provides the best approach for the patient, the profession and the taxpayer.”
 
Prior to lobbying Congress, ADA’s federal policy strategists at Prime Policy Group carefully vetted the proposed 18x18 legislation. They have advised that this comprehensive approach is intelligent and strategically sound.

18x18 aligns with ADA’s beliefs:

  • ADA believes that audiology, a doctoring profession, should be practiced with the same autonomy and authority as other doctoring professions that require similar education, skills and training (such as optometry, podiatry and chiropractic).
  • ADA believes that audiologists should be an entry point for Audiologic Care and that every patient, including Medicare recipients, should have access to safe, effective and efficient hearing and balance health care services, just as federal employees and most Americans enjoy.
  • ADA believes that audiologists should be recognized Medicare providers for the full scope of care that they provide under their state licenses and state-defined scopes of practice.
  • ADA believes that coverage of (and access to) comprehensive audiologic benefits will help patients avoid complications, as well as more serious and costly issues that stem from untreated balance and hearing disorders.

Although 18x18 has been deemed feasible and necessary by some of the brightest clinical, legal and political minds as the most efficient approach to Medicare reform for Audiologic Care, we recognize that it won’t happen overnight. ADA and its members have taken the long view by setting 2018 as a reasonable target.

“The 18x18 Movement was instigated by ADA at the behest of its members,” said ADA President-elect, Brian Urban, Au.D. “It has since been embraced by audiologists across the country who understand that neither best practices in patient care, nor true autonomy for the profession, will be attained until and unless 18x18 is achieved.”
 
18x18 Resources:

About ADA
Established in 1977, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) is the only national organization dedicated to audiologists in autonomous practice. ADA and its members strive to epitomize practitioner excellence, high ethical standards, professional autonomy and sound business practices in the provision of quality Audiologic Care. For more information, visitwww.audiologist.org.

About 18X18
18X18 is a national audiology initiative that seeks to amend Title 18 of the Social Security Act by 2018 to provide for the treatment of audiologists as physicians for purposes of furnishing audiology services under the Medicare Program, to provide for a broadened scope of audiology services available for coverage under the Medicare program and to enable Medicare beneficiaries to have their choice of qualified audiologist. To learn more about the 18X18 Initiative and how you can help achieve it, visit www.18x18.org.