Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A little plug

As many of you know, my wonderful husband is an ear doctor.

The way I understand it (and I could be a little mis-informed here) right now, if you have any problem with your ears (hearing, balance, tumors, auditory brain stuff) you have to be referred to him through a primary physician or an ENT. This stinks for him because it means that the doctor gets paid when really it is him that does the lions share of the testing, diagnosis, counseling and therapy. Its bad for the patient because they have to pay to see two professionals instead of one. And it isn't great for the ENT because it clogs up his day with people that really don't need his time (simple hearing tests, counseling sessions).

Right now there is legislation that is attempting to change this.

We're trying to get laws passed so that Medicare patients can go directly to an audiologist to have tests performed. It would make the audiologist just like an optometrist. You could just call up and audiologist and get your hearing tested and get hearing aids fitted and it would be covered by insurance.

This would be SOOO convenient for a lot of the elderly patients that the ear doctor sees.

If you have a minute, pop over to the American Academy of Audiology (by clicking here) and send your representative an email telling them that you support this movement! It's all filled out and all you have to do is click a few buttons.



Heather said...

They only have to be referred once to the audiologist though. Then they can go set up appointments for the audiologists whenever. Parker and Chandler (my brother and sister) were both born hearing impaired, and my mom always takes them directly to the audiologist. We didn't know Parker was hearing impaired until she talked to his primary physician about it when he was 4. I understand what you're saying, but it doesn't seem like that big a deal... you don't have to go to your primary physician every time before going to see the audiologist. (My brother and sister were not seen by ENTs there were sent straight to the audiologist from their primary physician.) Anyway, like I said I understand what you are saying, but in my brother and sister's situation the primary physician was only one stepping stone to get to the care they receive on a regular basis from their audiologist.

Let me know if I'm seeing this wrong though...

Katie said...

It's a bigger deal for your audiologist and how they get paid, if I understand it correctly.

The way that the ear doctor explains it, insurance would directly pay the audiologist instead of indirectly through a hospital or another doctor.

I don't really get it, but the ear doctor says this legislation will be huge for his whole field.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of managed health care! That is a huge deal & not only does needing to have a referral to be reimbursed by insurance & Medicare make it hard for your audiologist, but other medical specialists as well.

dad said...

I have to have your mother help me fill out the message and send it.

Insurance should pay for hearing.

chronicler said...

like dad says, insurance should cover hearing. Everyone knows that when a person's hearing is affected it affects their quality of life overall. I know, because I am hearing impaired, it is only getting worse and of all the health problems I have, none, except the hearing thing, it is not covered. aaack.

I will go, I will do, the things Katie has commanded!

Anonymous said...

This is a very nbig issue of us. I am doing the letter NOW!