2140 112th CONGRESS
H. R. 2140
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security
Act to provide Medicare beneficiaries coordinated care and greater choice with
regard to accessing hearing health services and benefits.IN
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 3, 2011
ROSS of Arkansas (for himself, Mr. HEINRICH, Mr. LATHAM, Mr. QUIGLEY, Mr. HIMES,
Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Ms. TSONGAS, Mr. SIMPSON, Mr. BARROW, Mr. MCGOVERN,
and Mr. CHANDLER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee
on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for
a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration
of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To amend title XVIII of the Social
Security Act to provide Medicare beneficiaries coordinated care and greater choice
with regard to accessing hearing health services and benefits.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Approximately 30,000,000 Americans experience some degree of hearing loss
and by 2030 that number is expected to increase to 78,000,000 Americans.
(2) Hearing impairment is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults,
with approximately 33 percent of Americans aged 60 years and over and 40 to 50
percent of those aged 75 years and older experiencing hearing loss.
(3) Hearing loss is a major barrier to participating in society, both economically
(4) Hearing loss among senior citizens,
if left untreated, can result in isolation and depression.
(5) The Department of Veterans Affairs allows veterans to directly access audiologists
and has reported that this policy, adopted in 1992, provides high-quality, efficient,
and cost-effective hearing care.
(6) The Office of Personnel
Management allows Federal employees and Members of Congress to directly access
audiologists through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
(7) Audiologists are licensed in each State and the District of Columbia and the
scope of services furnished by audiologists is determined by each jurisdiction
(8) Consistency in federal policy with respect
to hearing health services should be encouraged to the greatest extent possible.
(9) Audiologists hold Master's or Doctoral Degrees in audiology, completing university
training programs which provide for rigorous theoretical and clinical education
on evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
(10) As of January
1, 2010, audiologists are categorized under a unique broad occupation category
within the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system to better reflect
the diagnostic and treatment nature of the services they provide.
3. ENABLING MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES TO HAVE THEIR CHOICE OF QUALIFIED HEARING HEALTH
Section 1861(ll)(3) of the Social Security Act
(42 U.S.C. 1395x(ll)(3)) is amended by inserting before the period at the end
the following: `, without regard to any requirement that the individual receiving
the audiology services be under the care of (or referred by) a physician or other
health care practitioner or that such services are provided under the supervision
of a physician or other health care practitioner'.
SEC. 4. INCLUSION
OF AUDIOLOGY SERVICES AS MEDICAL SERVICES UNDER MEDICARE PART B; PAYMENT FOR SUCH
(a) In General- Section 1861(s)(2) of the Social Security
Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(s)(2)) is amended--
(1) in subparagraph
(EE), by striking `and' at the end;
(2) in subparagraph
(FF), by inserting `and' at the end; and
(3) by adding
at the end the following new subparagraph:
services (as defined in subsection (ll)(3));'.
Under the Physician Fee Schedule- Section 1848(j)(3) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4(j)(3))
is amended by inserting `(2)(GG),' before `(3),'.
SEC. 5. CONSTRUCTION;
(a) Construction- Nothing in the amendments made
by this Act shall be construed to expand the scope of audiology services for which
payment may be made under title XVIII of the Social Security Act on December 31,
(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by this Act shall
take effect with respect to services furnished on or after January 1, 2012.