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IHS leaders with U.S. Congressman David McKinley (R-WV), Co-Chair of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus




IHS Advocacy Center



US: Add Hearing Aid Specialists as Medicare Providers

The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on a bill, H.R. 4618, that would expand Medicare Part B to include hearing aids and related examinations for certain individuals, as well as add coverage for other audiological services. However, the bill fails to add hearing aid specialists as providers under Medicare.  Please complete the fields below to send an email to your House member urging them to resolve this problem in the final bill.

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Add Hearing Aid Specialists as Medicare Providers

Dear [Decision Maker],

As your constituent, I am seeking your assistance.

H.R. 4618 would expand hearing services offered under Medicare Part B to include hearing aids and related hearing examinations. Unfortunately, in its current form, the bill fails to include hearing aid specialists as qualified Medicare providers - cutting off 50% of the access points for Medicare beneficiaries.

Hearing aid specialists are licensed healthcare professionals who serve as points of entry into the hearing healthcare system. They dispense about half of all hearing aids in the non-VHA market. Hearing aid specialists are authorized by the FDA as a point of entry and state law to perform hearing evaluations, determine whether referral to a physician is necessary, recommend and fit hearing aids, and provide follow-up services including aural rehabilitation (counseling). Hearing aid specialists are already recognized as providers of hearing examinations and hearing aids by OPM/FEHB; DOL; VHA; state Medicaid, workers' compensation, and vocational rehabilitation programs; and private health plans. Federal recognition of hearing aid specialists as independent providers of hearing aid services was affirmed as recent as 2016 through the passage of PL 114-256.

Hearing aid specialists' historic exclusion from Medicare is due to the fact that the services they provide have been excluded from Medicare coverage. If Medicare is to cover these services, now is the time to add hearing aid specialists to Medicare as qualified providers. Further, with the number of audiologists in the private market shrinking each year in size, hearing aid specialists must be able to help fill the need.

I urge you to ensure that hearing aid specialists are added to H.R. 4618, should the bill be voted on or if incorporated into H.R.3, when it comes before the full House for a vote.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]