Text: H.R.4035 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/11/2014)


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[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 4035 Introduced in House (IH)]

113th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4035

  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

                           February 11, 2014

  Mr. McDermott (for himself and Mr. Latham) 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

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  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 ``Access to Hearing Healthcare Act of 
2014''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Approximately 36,000,000 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) The National Institute on Deafness and Other 
        Communication Disorders estimates that approximately 15 percent 
        (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have 
        high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or 
        noise at work or in leisure activities.
            (4) Hearing loss is a major barrier to participating in 
        society, both economically and socially.
            (5) Hearing loss among senior citizens, if left untreated, 
        can result in isolation and depression.
            (6) 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.
            (7) The Office of Personnel Management allows Federal 
        employees and Members of Congress to directly access 
        audiologists through the Federal Employees Health Benefits 
        Program.
            (8) Audiologists are licensed in each State and the 
        District of Columbia and the scope of services furnished by 
        audiologists is determined by each jurisdiction involved.
            (9) Consistency in Federal policy with respect to hearing 
        health services should be encouraged to the greatest extent 
        possible.
            (10) 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.
            (11) 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.

SEC. 3. ENABLING MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES TO HAVE THEIR CHOICE OF 
              QUALIFIED HEARING HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS.

    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 SERVICES.

    (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:
                    ``(GG) audiology services (as defined in subsection 
                (ll)(3));''.
    (b) Payment Under the Physician Fee Schedule.--Section 1848(j)(3) 
of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4(j)(3)) is amended by 
inserting ``(2)(GG),'' before ``(3)''.

SEC. 5. CONSTRUCTION; EFFECTIVE DATE.

    (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, 2013.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this Act shall take 
effect with respect to services furnished on or after January 1, 2015.
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