The Audiology Patient Choice Act (H.R. 2276/S.2575) would provide Medicare patients with direct access to a doctoral-level audiologist without a referral from a primary care provider. This would streamline access and care for many patients, reducing wait times for appointments and the need for, and hassle of, additional paperwork.
Medicare Requires Referrals and Causes Delays in Treatment
Under the current system of health care, Medicare Part B is the only insurer that requires recipients to receive a referral from a primary care provider, regulating patients into a fragmented system of care and requiring them to shuffle back-and-forth among a series of providers, forcing them to receive services in a piecemeal fashion. These obstacles often cause delays in treatment and contribute to the progression of hearing and balance conditions, resulting in poor health outcomes.
New Legislation Is on the Way
Fortunately, this bi-partisan legislation is working its way through Congress to help simplify Medicare. If enacted, the Audiology Patient Choice Act would make necessary improvements to Medicare Part B so that patients could have streamlined access to audiology services throughout Kansas and around the country. In addition to the House bill, this landmark legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
What Will the Audiology Patient Choice Act Do?
It will allow direct scheduling with an audiologist. The Audiology Patient Choice Act would allow Medicare beneficiaries who suspect they have a hearing or balance problem to schedule an appointment directly with an audiologist, just like those with private insurance or those who participate in other federal programs, like the Veterans Administration (VA).
New Legislation Means Better Care
Direct scheduling would allow patients to get a diagnosis and treatment sooner. It would foster better coordination and quality of care, and it would increase efficiency. This legislation would also help relieve pressure on primary care, which is already overburdened with 10,000 Americans becoming Medicare-eligible each day. In addition, the bill would allow patients to choose from among all licensed providers, including audiologists, the medically necessary rehabilitative services that they need, and that are covered by Medicare.
Send Your Support with One Click
If you would like to support this movement, you can help by contacting your senators and representatives.
Visit http://18x18.org/congressional-connect and select the Enact HR 2226/S 2575 Audiology Patient Choice Act and then select the form letter you would like to use, depending on your role (patient, audiologist, administrator).
Enter your contact information and the system will automatically find your senators and representatives, sending the letter to all of them with just one click. The entire process only takes a few minutes.
If you would like more information on the act, visit http://18x18.org/congressional-connect.