Medicaid Hearing Aid Procurement and Reimbursement - Status March 7, 2013
On Thursday, March 7, 2013, Matt Lyon, the Texas Academy’s Governmental Liaison, participated in a meeting with HHSC staff. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss a new Medicaid hearing aid procurement and reimbursement program which will replace the current system that we have used for the past several years.
Several scenarios were discussed and they are open to additional suggestions. We have agreed to meet again in the near future after more information is gathered by the HHSC staff. Understand that at this time the Commission does not have a specific program in mind to replace the current one but is looking to develop and implement a new plan as soon as possible. This will be an ongoing process and we will keep you informed as it develops. Contact Matt Lyon if you have questions or seek further information.
Texas Academy of Audiology Board
12/05/2012 - The Texas Audiology community mourns the loss of Todd Porter, a longtime advocate of our profession. Todd was active in the formation of The Texas Academy of Audiology and served as the TAA PAC Chairman for ten years.
Memorials may be made to one of the following in Todd’s memory:
Our candidate wins
12/14/2011 - With the help of TAA's PAC, our friend and candidate for the Texas House of Representatives John Raney won a special election last night. John was outspent 3 to 1 and had most of the Austin money going against him.
Thanks again for your support and we will look forward to bringing your issues to his attention in the future. Details to follow...
Update regarding United Healthcare
November 2, 2011—The American Academy of Audiology has now posted this update from President Therese Walden, who will be briefing us personally at our TAA conference in Richardson:
From President Walden—An Update for Members: Health Insurance Hearing Benefits, Internet Testing and Sales
October 13, 2011—The Texas Academy of Audiology has been monitoring and working with the AAA with regard to the UHC (United Healthcare) situation. Here is today's correspondence from Academy President Walden:
Absolutely the Academy (AAA) and the ADA are reviewing this situation very closely and have been in discussion.
As you can tell, there are many unanswered questions that we all have. The
FDA regulates hearing aids and they have weighed in on PSAPs (personal sound
amplification products) but have limited jurisdiction over those kinds of
products. The FDA can make recommendations and have indicated that the
'purpose' and subsequent labeling of hearing aids and PSAPs is key.
We are seeing all kinds of 'boundaries' being pushed...from the product
(hearing aid or PSAP), to the testing (face-to-face, online, or none at
all!), to licensing and state regs, to interstate commerce,
to just about any delivery system you can think of in order to go 'direct to
consumer'. Not all good and certainly most of this is not in the best
interest of the patient...we know that.
The Academy and the ADA are staying close to this UHC issue and the broader
issue of 'alternative delivery models' as well as all the other permutations
We have to just keep providing great Audiology care to our patients. "The
rest (as my mother always says) "will come out in the wash".
American Academy of Audiology
Supporting Direct Access
The Texas Academy of Audiology's Vice President of Professional Issues, Douglas L. Beck Au.D., interviews the American Academy of Audiology's (AAA) president, Therese Walden Au.D., on issues relating to and supporting DIRECT ACCESS. Please read, email questions to Dr. Beck and please participate by sending an instant e-note to your Texas legislators supporting the same!
Texas Governor Signs Three Major Bills Enacted by State Legislature
Friday, June 17, 2011—According to Texas Legislature Online, the Governor signed TAA's bills SB662 and SB613, as well as SB663, making them all effective on 9/1/2011.
Read the abstracts for all three bills. Text of each of the bills as passed can be found on the Governmental Issues page of the TAA website.
Texas Legislature Passes Major Bills
Two major bills relating to audiology have been passed by the Texas Legislature!
After an extensive effort by TAA to prepare for the 2010 Sunset Review and subsequent lobbying, SB 662 “Relating to the continuation and functions of the State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology” was passed and sent to the Governor of Texas for signing on 5/21/2011. This bill’s provisions were based on recommendations in the Sunset Commission’s report.
In addition, SB 613 “Relating to educational requirements for licensing as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist” was also passed and sent to the Governor on 5/21/2011. This bill, requested by TAA, 1) amends our act to offer reciprocity for audiologists licensed in other states and 2) changes requirement for audiologists to possess at least a doctoral degree in audiology from a program accredited by a national accrediting organization. All currently licensed audiologists in Texas may continue their practices, as long as they renew their license on time and earn the required CE credits.
The governor has until 6/21/2011 to take action on both bills (i.e., sign the bills or veto). If he takes no action by then, they will become law and go into effect on 9/1/2011.
U.S. Congress: Direct Access for Audiologists
On June 3, 2011 Representative Mike Ross (D-AR) introduced the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2140), which would afford Medicare patients access to audiologists without a physician referral by eliminating the need for Medicare patients to obtain a physician referral prior to visiting an audiologist for an evaluation. If you are a TAA audiologist, please contact your Congressional representative today and urge them to sponsor this critical legislation.
Final Legislative Report
As many of you know, Brad Shields is the lobbyist for the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA). Mr. Shields continues in his important role to guide us and keep us abreast of the many substantive and important changes which occur on a weekly basis across the State of Texas - and most importantly - in Austin - during the recent 82nd Legislative Session (2010 to 2011). Some of the new bills and provisions which passed include (abstracted here):
Newborn screening requirements (SB229) have been expanded to all birthing facilities across the state. DSHS is now required to provide access to management, reporting and tracking systems for birthing facilities working with Medicaid. When a qualified hearing screening provider, audiologist, intervention specialist, educator or other professional receives a referral based on newborn hearing screenings, they must provide the services or refer the child to someone who does provide the services.
Specific hospital entities must report to DSHS the results of all follow-up services for infants who did not pass the newborn hearing screening. SB613 says applicants for a license in audiology must hold a doctoral degree. However, if an individual holds a license in audiology based on their previous credentials (i.e., MA or MS) prior to the doctoral requirement, as long as they have and maintain their license, they may continue to practice.
For Members Only: download the complete analysis and documentation by Brad Shields, in Professional Issues section.
TAA Board Meeting of Jan 8, 2011
The TAA Board held its meeting on Jan 8th to plan our annual conference (Nov 11-12 2011). We're looking for TAA members to get involved in event planning and volunteer support. Interested? Drop us a line via the Contact Us page on the TAA web site.
ALSO: A Call for Papers will be announced very soon! Be thinking of a proposal for a presentation. Your Texas colleagues want to hear from you!
TAA joins Facebook
You can now become a member of the Texas Academy’s Facebook group - one more benefit of your TAA membership. This group is only available to current TAA members, allowing you to better discuss professional issues and get advice from fellow audiologists through one of the most popular social networking sites available.
If you do not already have a Facebook account, sign up by visiting Facebook and follow the instructions.
To join the Texas Academy of Audiology group, search for TAA by entering “Texas Academy of Audiology” in the Search field at the top of the page or follow this link follow this link.
To become a member, click the group's name, and then click "Join this Group" on the right side of the screen.
We look forward to having you join us on Facebook! If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Vickie Dionne receives Rogers Community Service Award
9/21/2009. For TAA member Vickie Dionne, recipient of Lamar University’s 2009 Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award, volunteer work is an inherited trait. “My parents were always involved when I was growing up, so it was very natural for me to be active as well,” said Dionne, assistant professor of audiology at Lamar. More...
Ross Roeser cited for honors by AAA
Former TAA President Ross Roeser, PhD, is one of the American Academy of Audiology's 2009 Academy Honors Recipients.
In Memoriam: Mary Gwyn Allen, DMin., M
Staff members of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Newborn Screening Support Unit and the Texas Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (TEHDI) Team in Austin, Texas are deeply saddened with the recent death of their friend and coworker, Mary Gwyn Allen. Mary Gwyn passed away in her home on Monday, January 28th, 2013.
Mary Gwyn’s contributions in program development, education, outreach and research development in the area of hearing screening for infants and children were numerous. Since 2009, Mary Gwyn Allen has served as the statewide Program Coordinator for the TEHDI Program, providing subject matter expertise and coordination of program activities.
Prior to joining DSHS, Mary Gwyn served as the Project Manager and Follow-up Consultant for the Infant Hearing Program and a Local Health Unit Administrator for the Arkansas Department of Health. She received her Master of Arts in applied psychology and a doctorate, D.Min. in interfaith ministry. Additionally, Dr. Allen served as a faculty member in the Psychology Department of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Ouachita College.
The TEHDI staff will remember her unwavering dedication to the TEHDI Program. Mary Gwyn’s presence and contributions will be greatly missed.
FDA Issues Cease & Desist Order
April 18, 2012—At the urging of the AAA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a cease and desist letter to hi HealthInnovations regarding the UHC online hearing aid test and hearing aid benefit. More...
hi HealthInnovations Drops Online Hearing Test
April 18, 2012—Read David Kirkwood's article in Hearing News Watch, "hi HealthInnovations drops online hearing test after FDA warns that it's illegal." More...
Online Consumer Hearing Test
Otolaryngologists Concerned about Online Consumer Hearing Test
A subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group has launched an online hearing test and a line of lower-cost hearing devices that are generating alarm about patient safety among otolaryngologists. More in the Member Only section...
Joint Task Force Hearing Instruments Meeting
On December 8, 2011, the Joint Task Force Hearing Instruments Meeting was held at 8407 Wall Street, Exchange Building, Room N-102 in Austin Texas. The Joint Task Force was comprised of the State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and the State Committee of Examiners in the Fitting and Dispensing of Hearing Instruments. Representatives from the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA).... More in the Members Only section....
AAAF Science Fair
Amber Morgan (far left) and Janet Krueger (far right) of the Texas Academy of Audiology present Elise Harais with an award for her AAAF Science Fair project, How Does Age Affect the Frequency at Which a Person Can Hear? More...
Promote your pediatric audiology facility!
Be recognized in the new EHDI PALS Directory. DSHS asks you to complete this online survey.
EHDI Pediatric Audiology Links to Services (PALS): A National Pediatric Audiology Facilities Directory
EHDI PALS is designed to help families of children, birth to 5 years of age, locate appropriate pediatric diagnostic audiology and hearing technology services. It is anticipated that the directory will be available in 2012.
Your participation in this survey will help ensure that the EHDI PALS Directory is comprehensive and accurate. This survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. We appreciate your help. Take the survey now.
Download TEHDI Follow-up and Intervention Form.
Governor Proposes Consolidation into Health Professions Agency
In his recent State of the State address on February 8th, Governor Perry released recommendations for possible budget savings and sources of revenue in response toTexas's budget crunch. Among those recommendations proposed was one that would consolidate, into a new "Health Professions Agency", the Texas Medical Board, Board of Nursing, Board of Dental Examiners, Optometry Board, as well as licensing boards for psychologists, chiropractors, pharmacists, physical therapists, and podiatrists. The governor's office estimates that this consolidation would save an estimated $7 million. At this time, there has been no indication that the State Board of Examiners for Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology have been slated for inclusion in this consolidation. TAA's lobbyist, Brad Shields, is keeping a close watch on developments in Austin and is in close communication with the TAA Board. Watch this website for future developments.
Is there an Audiologist in the House??? by TAA's Lobbyist
TAA is a strong organization that does an admirable job of advocating for audiologists and their patients in Texas. Our ambitions are bold and supported by science-based evidence; expert testimony; grass roots support; and patient advocacy groups. But when it comes to legislative policy, we have no advocates serving in the legislature who possess the necessary expertise and training to speak with authority.... We need to elect audiologists to office. More...
Dallas Hearing Foundation holds unique holiday gala December 19
9/14/2009. DALLAS HEARING FOUNDATION OFFERS UNIQUE HOLIDAY PARTY ALTERNATIVE AT SOUNDS OF THE SEASON GALA
Dallas, Texas --- Charitable organizations across the country have been hearing the screeching halt of corporate charitable giving for many months now. The hospitality & hotel industry, accustomed to booking much of its holiday party business in the third and fourth quarters, are hearing crickets instead of silver bells with regards to their December bookings. More...
AAAF Matches Funding from the TAA to Promote Future Audiologists
Past TAA President Ross Roeser has been garnering favorable publicity for the TAA with his benevolence. Read all about it
In Memory of Alison Berry
10/1/09—The life of Unitron representative and TAA member Alison Berry was cut short at age 31 on Thursday, October 1, 2009, in an automobile accident.
Alison's Hope for Hearing is now accepting donations.
Checks can be made to Alison's Hope for Hearing and mailed to:
Alison's Hope For Hearing
PO Box 787
Lockhart, TX 78644-0787
Joint Committee on Infant Hearing
The JCIH has released its 2007 Position Statement, a best-practices, evidence-based guideline on newborn hearing screening, audiologic and medical diagnosis and audiologic, medical and educational management (Early Intervention), for the infant with hearing loss or deafness.
TAA President Lauds
Dallas Morning News for
Increasing Awareness of Hearing Loss Risks
Dallas Morning News carried an article [click past the ad] 6/24/07 about UNT professor Kris Chesky's efforts to raise awareness among musicians of risk of hearing loss.
TAA President-Elect's letter to the editor in response to the article was published 6/29/07:
Kudos for hearing story
Re: "UNT: expert: Musicans not tuned in to injuries—Professor, himself a trumpter with hearing loss, pushes awareness, Sunday news story.
Thank you for publishing the front page article regarding Dr. Kris Chesky's laudable efforts to prevent health-related injuries in musicians, focusing primarily on hearing loss. Audiologists are keenly aware of the deleterious effects of high noise levels on hearing and the need for hearing conservation for all individuals, especially youngsters, who are exposing their ears to high noise levels. Noise-induced hearing loss is."
Dr. Ross J. Roeser, President Elect
Texas Academy of Audiology, Dallas
Audiology News from around the Web
Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill
The Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill currently has 71 cosponsors in the House. It is still in the Ways and Means committee. For a better understanding of the tax credit bill, please see:
Use the sample letter on that page to write your Congressman/woman.
TAA Audiologists in the News
Lee Wilson, Ross Roeser and Paul Stephenson are quoted in the December 10 edition of the Dallas Morning News in the Jobs section in an article entitled "Sound Advice on Hearing."
"Turn It To The Left"
"Turn It to the Left" is an educational rap song written by Benjamin Jackson, who sang the song at the last AAA conference to a standing ovation. The song is in support of the AAA's campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of exposure to high sound pressure levels. To read about the campaign and hear the song or see a performance of it, please visit www.turnittotheleft.com.
Can You Hear Me Now? The Impacts of Hearing Loss
Though it's one of the most common workplace injuries, noise-induced hearing loss also is one of the most overlooked. Employees and employers who don't pay attention to the importance of hearing protection potentially could lose much more than just their hearing. More...