Louisiana Academy of Audiology Endorses the Audiology Patient Choice Act of 2014

On September 13th, the Louisiana Academy of Audiology (LAA) became the 10th audiology organization to officially 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 Dr. Steven Madix and LAA for their commitment to ensuring that Medicare patients in Louisiana, and indeed throughout the nation have the same freedom of choice and access to safe, efficient audiologic care as the rest of us do,” said ADA President Brian Urban, Au.D.

If enacted, the Audiology Patient Choice Act 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 referral 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 LAA endorsement of H.R. 5304 was approved during the inaugural LAA Membership Meeting, where ADA Secretary, Rita Chaiken, Au.D., and ADA/LAA member Ram Nileshwar, Au.D., presented an overview of the legislation and answered questions from the audience.

“I am proud to be a member of both LAA and ADA—they are likeminded organizations, committed to advancing best practices in patient care and professional parity for audiologists,” said Dr. Nileshwar. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in my state and around the nation to advance the Audiology Patient Choice Act.”