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ISHA Newsletter

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  • 03 Nov 2014 10:35 AM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    Medicare Keeps the Audiology Osseointegrated Implant as Benefit 

    Successful advocacy efforts from ASHA and other audiology stakeholders resulted in a significant win for the audiology community. In July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determined to reclassify osseointegrated implants as “hearing aids” and effectively disqualified the prosthetic devices from Medicare coverage. CMS released the final Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) rule for 2015, and note that they were changing their position due to the requests of several commenters for reconsideration.


    Subsequently, CMS has finalized the following:

    (1) Scope. The scope of the hearing aid exclusion encompasses all types of air conduction hearing aids that provide acoustic energy to the cochlea via stimulation of the tympanic membrane with amplified sound and bone conduction hearing aids that provide mechanical stimulation of the cochlea via stimulation of the scalp with amplified mechanical vibration or by direct contact with the tympanic membrane or middle ear ossicles.

    (2) Devices not subject to the hearing aid exclusion. Paragraph (d)(1) of this section shall not apply to the following devices that produce the perception of sound by replacing the function of the middle ear, cochlea, or auditory nerve:

    (i) Osseointegrated implants in the skull bone that provide mechanical energy to the cochlea via a mechanical transducer, or

    (ii) Cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants that replace the function of cochlear structures or auditory nerve and provide electrical energy to auditory nerve fibers and other neural tissue via implanted electrode arrays. 42 CFR §411.15



    The Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) rule is proposed annually to update fee schedules and special payment rules. When the proposal to change the definition of prosthetics and hearing aids was noted, ASHA and other stakeholders coordinated efforts to meet with CMS and submit formal comments. ASHA recommended no change to the current definition, and to include “non-osseointegrated” into the definition of hearing aid. Additionally, ASHA recommended that CMS convene a Technical Expert Panel of audiologists and otolaryngologists to discuss and determine technology appropriate for Medicare coverage. Currently, Medicare does not cover hearing aids under the regular Medicare benefit.



    For more information, please contact Lisa Satterfield, ASHA’s director of health care regulatory advocacy, at

    Lemmietta G. McNeilly, PhD, CCC-SLP, CAE, ASHA Fellow
    Chief Staff Officer, Speech-Language Pathology
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    2200 Research Boulevard, #229
    Rockville, MD 20850-3289
    +1 301-296-5705 telephone
    301-296-8577 fax

  • 03 Nov 2014 10:27 AM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Released

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the final 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and associated rules for Medicare Part B services on October 31, 2014, and will publish it in the November 7, 2014, Federal Register. The rules go into effect January 1, 2015.


    Payment Rates

    A conversion factor (CF) is used to calculate the MPFS reimbursement rates. The conversion factor for January 1 through March 31, 2015, is $35.8013. On April 1, 2015, the conversion factor converts to $28.2239, 21.2% lower because of a statutory formula known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR). Congress extended the current SGR in anticipation of passing a Medicare payment reform bill; however, there has been little progress in the bill passage. It is anticipated that Congress will enact legislation to prevent this reduction as it has done almost every year since the SGR was implemented.


    New Rates for Vestibular Testing Codes

    Earlier this year, ASHA and the American Academy of Audiology surveyed audiologists in order to update the professional work value of vestibular testing codes 92541, 92542, 92543, 92544, and 92545 through the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) valuation process. The 2015 MPFS reflects the first time that the payment rates for these vestibular testing codes are based on the professional work of the audiologist (e.g., clinical judgment, mental effort, risk).


    Therapy Caps

    The CY2015 therapy cap is $1,940. However, the final rule reiterated that the current therapy cap exceptions process (using the KX modifier) and manual medical review at the $3,700 threshold for physical therapy and speech-language pathology services combined will continue through March 31, 2015. However, absent Congressional action, the exceptions process and manual medical review will expire April 1, 2015.


    Go to ASHA's Take Action site to tell your members of Congress to allow the exceptions process to continue in 2015.


    More information on the therapy cap exceptions process and manual medical review is available on ASHA's billing and reimbursement webpages.


    Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)

    Due to advocacy efforts by ASHA, the Audiology Quality Consortium, and other audiology organization stakeholders, CMS determined to change their position to retire audiology measure #261, Referral for Otologic Evaluation for Patients with Acute or Chronic Dizziness. ASHA requested the reconsideration to 1) ensure audiologists have a clinically relevant measure to report in 2015, 2) have a measure by which to train and educate, and 3) have an interim measure while audiology stakeholders develop and finalize six measures, currently in the testing phase of measure development.


    In 2015, audiologists will report:

    ·         Measure #261 for a minimum of 50% of all Medicare beneficiaries

    ·         Measure #130, the documentation of medication, for a minimum of 50% of the Medicare patient visits

    ·         Measure #134, screening for depression, for a minimum of 50% of the Medicare beneficiaries receiving tinnitus evaluations

    Speech-language pathologists continue to participate in the documentation of medication measure, and have pain assessment as an optional measure for participation.


    Audiologists and SLPs who work in private practice, group practice, or university clinics, and do not meet the benchmark requirements for the measures in 2015, will receive a 2% deduction on all of their Medicare services in 2017.


    For more information regarding PQRS, please visit ASHA’s PQRS webpage.


    Value-Based Modifier (VBM)

    Medicare finalized the expansion of the VBM and associated rules to specialty-care providers not previously subject to the additional requirements. However, due to advocacy efforts from ASHA and other audiology and therapy organizations, CMS agreed to postpone the implementation to audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and other non-physician professionals. This is a significant decision for ASHA members providing services to Medicare beneficiaries, as non-compliance in 2015 would result in an additional 4% deduction from all Medicare claims in 2017.


    The reprieve is temporary, however, as the recommendations in the rule included expansion in 2016. ASHA will work with CMS and other stakeholders to ensure members are prepared for the additional quality reporting program requirements.



    Each year, CMS releases proposed rules and rates for the following year with a 60-day comment period. Audiology and speech-language pathology services under Medicare Part B (outpatient) have reimbursement rates established by the MPFS. Speech-language pathology services provided in hospital outpatient settings are also based on the MPFS, while audiology outpatient hospital services are paid under the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System.


    ASHA Resources

    Further analysis is pending and details will be noted on ASHA's Billing & Reimbursement website, in future ASHA Leader articles, and through ASHA Headlines.


    For more information, contact Lisa Satterfield, ASHA’s director of health care regulatory advocacy, at or Neela Swanson, ASHA’s director of health care coding policy, at

    Lemmietta G. McNeilly, PhD, CCC-SLP, CAE, ASHA Fellow
    Chief Staff Officer, Speech-Language Pathology
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    2200 Research Boulevard, #229
    Rockville, MD 20850-3289
    +1 301-296-5705 telephone
    301-296-8577 fax

  • 23 Jun 2014 12:58 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)
    The Program Committee has just about finished the program for the 2015 Convention (April 23-25).  There are a few slots left for individuals wishing to submit papers for presenting.  This deadline has been extended to July 10th.  We are also looking for ideas for Movie Night. Let us know if you have seen or heard about something that would be a highlight for 2015!  As always thank you for your input!
  • 27 May 2014 1:57 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)
    APRIL 23-25, 2015 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
    ...more details coming soon!
  • 21 Apr 2014 12:50 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    As a fellow audiologist and member of ASHA, I am writing to let you know about some disturbing developments happening within the hearing aid dispensing profession at the State and Federal levels. Hearing aid dispensers are trying to drastically expand their scope of practice and this will potentially cause harm to patients.

    Hearing aid dispensers are only required to have a
    GED in most states, yet lawmakers are being led to believe that dispensers are qualified to interpret tests, refer for cochlear implants, rehab and medical intervention, determine candidacy for tinnitus management, provide tinnitus management, and administer cerumen management. All this without the supervision of an audiologist!

    Please read this quote from the International Hearing Society's Executive Director:

    "Contrary to outdated and inaccurate perceptions hearing aid specialists do not simply fit and 'sell' hearing aids, but are full-fledged hearing care providers. As they move into independent practice, hearing aid specialists typically have as much, if not more experience performing hearing evaluations and fitting and dispensing hearing aids than an average new AuD program graduate."
    –Kathleen Mennillo, Executive Director, International Hearing Society

    We need your help TODAY!*
    This used to be a state issue, but now we're seeing this 'scope creep' at the federal level. Recently, some Congressmen introduced legislation that would allow for the appointment of hearing aid specialists to the Veterans Health Administration, believing that this legislation would address problems associated with long wait times for hearing aids and hearing health care services. The International Hearing Society is financing this campaign.

    But the
    VA already has the authority to hire hearing aid specialists as technicians that work under the direction of an audiologist. This legislation is a Trojan Horse designed to expand their scope in other parts of the federal government and throughout the country. They seek to position themselves as the provider of choice for dispensing hearing aids.

    Your profession, practices, and patients' safety are at stake! Please help ASHA-PAC
    fight this overreach TODAY!

    I encourage you to support ASHA-PAC. ASHA-PAC is the strongest tool we have to combat legislation that threatens our profession and the wellbeing of our patients. Please contribute to ASHA-PAC today.

    Julie Verhoff, Au.D., Ph.D., CCC-A
    Chair, ASHA-PAC
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

  • 14 Apr 2014 2:01 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    Here is an overview of what the Ball State NSSLHA Chapter has been doing this academic year! In October some of our members went to the Whispering Pines Equestrian Center and helped out with therapeutic horseback riding. The NSSLHA members helped brush off the horses and got them ready to ride. They walked alongside the horses holding the children on the horses to help with the therapy.


    For Thanksgiving and Christmas we had a food drive and the proceeds went to Second Harvest Food Bank in Muncie. We also had a clothing drive and asked members to bring in clothing items they no longer wore and then we donated the clothes to Muncie Missions. We also made Thanksgiving and Christmas cards which we sent to Elmcroft Nursing Home here in Muncie.


    During January, February, March, and April we have scheduled game nights with the Elmcroft Nursing Home. Some of our members have gone to play games such as “Spoons” and “Uno” with the members of the nursing home and have made some special friends. We will also be playing “Bingo” and “Headbandz” at our upcoming game nights at Elmcroft. The NSSLHA members are currently helping the SPAA department get ready for the end of the year honors banquet.


    At our previous meeting some of the NSSLHA members took a photo thanking President JoAnn Gora for her time here at the University! At our last meeting of the year we will be holding elections for the executive board. We are all very excited to see what the 2014-2015 academic year brings to our Ball State NSSLHA Chapter!



  • 01 Apr 2014 4:23 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    Did you know?  ISHA is giving away a GOOGLE MINI TABLET at the ISHA Business Meeting which begins on Thursday at Convention!  Get your ticket to win as you enter Veteran’s Hall.  The meeting starts at 8:00 am.

  • 28 Mar 2014 5:07 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)


    ASHA Action Alert: Stop Legislation That Would Recognize Hearing Aid Specialists as Providers in the VA

    Yesterday, March 27th, a hearing was held on legislation related to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health benefits, including H.R. 3508. This legislation would recognize hearing aid specialists for appointment to the VA to independently provide hearing aid evaluations, fittings and orientation, verification and clinical outcomes measurements, and customary after care services. ASHA submitted a statement for the record in opposition to the legislation. The VA Deputy under Secretary for Health Policy and Services testified in opposition to the bill, stating that the Secretary of the VA already has the authority to hire hearing aid specialists.

    In its testimony, the VA stated that the lack of standardized educational and professional health licensure requirements of hearing aid specialists could fragment hearing health care services and limit delivery of comprehensive hearing health care services because Veterans frequently exhibit hearing loss in combination with other comorbidities.

    The legislation is being championed by the International Hearing Society and has the support of several veteran groups who wrote in support of passing the legislation. Congressional inquiry at the hearing expressed concern with long wait times for both hearing health services and repair of devices given that tinnitus and hearing loss are the top service-related disabilities for veterans. Because of the interest and concerns expressed by members of Congress related to timely access to hearing health services, there is a possibility that H.R. 3508 may be included in a larger VA health bill later this year.

    Tell your Representative not to cosponsor this legislation. The legislation is redundant, unnecessary, and will not address issues associated with long wait times for hearing aids and hearing health care services.

    For additional information, contact Ingrida Lusis, ASHA’s director of federal and political advocacy, at
    Take Action Here

  • 21 Mar 2014 3:29 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    We’ve worked hard since the last convention to address some of your concerns and suggestions for our 2014 Convention!  We appreciate your time filling out the convention evaluations and have developed action plans for this year. We want all attendees to enjoy themselves, learn, and have fun!

    Parking at the Indianapolis Marriott East was a real problem for some attendees last year….. So this year we’ve worked with hotel to provide additional services!

    The hotel has agreed to provide secure off-site parking and shuttle service to hotel.  If you park off site, be on the lookout for the shuttle service!

    Also, Hotel will provide one (1) 12 passenger van to shuttle attendees to and from local restaurants within a three (3) mile radius on the evening of Friday, April 4, 2014. This will run on a first come, first served basis from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

    As the date gets closer, stay tuned to our blog, ISHA App, Twitter, or Facebook pages for updated parking locations and info to help make your experience at convention wonderful.

    ISHA App
    Again this year, there is an app for that!  You can download the ISHA App today from your marketplace.  Search for ISLHA.  Make sure notifications are on to receive important updates!  You can also submit conference evaluations once you complete a session!

    Confirmation Emails
    ISHA Will send out confirmation emails the week of March 24th.  Watch your email for these important convention details including speaker handouts, parking instructions, and much more!

    Gleaner’s Food Bank
    Again this year, help donate to the needy in Central Indiana!  Gleaner’s Food Bank will have barrels available to collect your donations.  Remember, if you make a donation to Gleaner’s you will receive an extra exhibit hall giveaway ticket to enter in either Thursday or Friday – you chose which day!

    Click Here to See the list of Items Gleaner’s Food Bank Needs Most!

    Tweet us about convention using #ISHA14
    Follow us @ISHAIndiana

  • 21 Mar 2014 2:55 PM | Ann Ninness (Administrator)

    From: Elizabeth McCrea, 2014 ASHA President

    Date: March 18, 2014

    Subject: Joint Message from AAA, ADA and ASHA


    Dear Members,

    On Wednesday, March 5th, leaders from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) gathered for a joint meeting with the purpose of surveying audiology’s professional landscape, recognizing areas of alignment, barriers and identifying potential collaborative initiatives to better serve audiology.


    Read More - Click Here!

    Or Visit: 

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