TMA Opposes Audiology Scope Expansion

Audiologists lack the "medical training necessary to perform the same duties as physicians" and aren't able to "provide patients with the medical diagnosis and treatment options they require." That's the message TMA, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 38 state and local medical associations, and dozens of specialty societies and national organizations sent in a letter to House and Senate leaders.

The groups strongly oppose HR 4035 by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and S 2046 by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), saying they give audiologists unlimited, direct access to Medicare patients without a physician referral. Representative McDermott introduced the resolution in the House in February at the request of the American Academy of Audiology.

The letter acknowledges audiologists play a crucial role as valuable members of the physician-led health care team but states that "aspirations of some audiologists to independently diagnose hearing disorders transcends their level of training and expertise."

TMA and the organizations that signed on to the letter implore lawmakers "to oppose any efforts to advance this ill-advised legislation" for the sake of America's senior citizens.

Action, April 1, 2014