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

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Introduced in House (02/11/2014)


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.