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AAO-HNS Opposes Physician Status for Audiologists

The AAO-HNS strongly believes a physician-led hearing healthcare team, with coordination of services, is the best approach for providing the highest quality care to patients. However, some in the audiology community continue to pursue legislation that would undermine the overall hearing healthcare team by removing existing physician referral requirements within the Medicare program and granting audiologists with “limited license physician” status within the Medicare program. Hearing and balance disorders are medical conditions that require a full patient history and physical examination by a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). While audiologists are valued health professionals who work for and with physicians, they do not possess the medical training necessary to perform the same duties as physicians, nor are they able to provide patients with the medical diagnosis and treatment options they require. The AAO-HNS opposes any legislation that would allow audiologists to independently diagnose or treat the medical conditions associated with hearing loss.

  • Active audiology-related legislation:
    • The "Audiology Patient Choice Act" (S. 2575) was introduced in the U.S. Senate in March 2018 by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rand Paul (R-KY). 
    • The AAO-HNS opposes H.R. 2276, the “Audiology Patient Choice Act of 2017,” which would provide audiologists with unlimited “direct access” to Medicare patients without a physician referral, and/or inappropriately include audiologists in Medicare’s definition of “physician.”

Click here to read the AAO-HNS letter opposing H.R. 2276.

Click here to read the organizational sign-on letter opposing H.R. 2276.

Click here to read the organizational sign-on letter opposing S. 2575.

For more information regarding federal audiology legislation, contact legfederal@entnet.org.