Ask your members of Congress to improve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to audiology and speech-language pathology services by cosponsoring H.R. 2168, the Expanded Telehealth Access Act.
Professionals: Contact your members of Congress!
Students: Contact your members of Congress!
Download the Issue Brief [PDF] to learn more.
Medicare does not cover audiology and speech-language pathology services delivered via telehealth outside the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are qualified providers of telehealth services and are often allowed to provide telehealth services under state law and other payer policies.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has used authority provided by Congress to cover key audiology and speech-language pathology telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that authority expires once the public health emergency (PHE) ends.
- Permanently expanding telehealth coverage would enhance access to hearing, balance, speech, language, swallowing, and cognition related health care services to Medicare beneficiaries, especially those in rural and medically underserved areas.
- Increasing access to audiology and speech-language pathology services may help consumers to better understand their health care condition and help their ability to express their medical needs resulting in increased compliance and improved patient outcomes.
- Expanding telehealth coverage to audiology and speech-language pathology would have a minor effect on Medicare spending. An independent cost estimate found that covering these services under Medicare would increase fiscal year outlays by less than $2.5 million over the 5-year budget period and less than $10 million over 10 years.