Friday, May 27, 2011

Audiology Organizations Argue with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

(Washington, DC) – The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) today joined forces to correct claims made recently by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) with regard to activities surrounding the legislative initiatives of these audiology organizations.
“For several months, ASHA has released contradictory and misleading information regarding its ‘comprehensive audiology Medicare benefit’ proposal and our organizations’ involvement in it,” said Patricia B. Kricos, Ph.D., President of the American Academy of Audiology. “We feel a responsibility to our membership to clarify the misconceptions and overstatements that ASHA has used in its publications.”
Notice of ASHA’s proposed ‘comprehensive benefit’ initiative came in February 2010 via an article in the ASHA Leader outlining plans to seek the aforementioned benefit through a legislative agenda. Following the publication of that article, 10 organizations representing audiology were invited to discuss the ASHA proposal. Upon initial review, and at subsequent meetings, AAA and ADA posed specific questions and concerns regarding potential unintended consequences of the legislation which, to date, have remained unanswered. Due to ASHA’s failure to respond to these inquiries, ADA and AAA have refrained from endorsing or supporting the initiative.
In the letter [click here to view], sent today on behalf of the membership of AAA and ADA to ASHA leadership, the organizations reiterate their stance of wholeheartedly supporting direct access to audiologists for Medicare beneficiaries, and enumerate their concerns with the ASHA-proposed benefit and recent articles in the ASHA 2011 Audiology Connections magazine.
“ADA and AAA have been clear on our position. We unequivocally support direct access and plan to continue to focus our efforts on that endeavor,” said Bruce Vircks, Au.D., President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. “We hope that the letter ASHA received today sends a powerful message that our organizations, representing nearly 12,000 audiologists, are setting the record straight: we do not endorse or support the ASHA-proposed ‘comprehensive audiology Medicare benefit.’”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Haslam signs bill obligating insurance to cover child hearing aids

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation last week requiring private insurance plans to include coverage of hearing aids for children.

Senate Bill 607 <> , sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, requires that health insurance policies provide coverage of up to $1,000 per individual hearing aid per ear, every three years, for every child covered as a dependent by the policy holder.

“Insurance coverage for hearing devices is very important to help make them affordable so these children grow and learn,” said Overbey. “There are many benefits to passing this legislation. If you provide hearing aids in early childhood you save money for therapeutic services and hospitalization down the road. The true savings of allowing children to have hearing aids, however, is that they become active members of their school day one.”

“I am very pleased this bill has become law,” added Ketron. “No child should have to go through life without hearing, especially when there is a medical device available to help them."

"This bill has been of great importance to many of us,” added Montgomery. “Hearing is critical to the development of a child. This new law will help many children have an opportunity to receive a hearing device for both their own personal success and to become productive citizens of Tennessee"