Volume #37 - February/March 2022


Audiology Resources

Monthly News & Updates

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I am passionate about audiology. Very, very passionate. I am also almost equally passionate about consumers having access to accessible, affordable, and research evidence based care so that they can "hear more and fall less". So we can leave fewer individuals behind and expand our reach and market.

This passion, for my work, for my patients and clients, for my profession, for knowledge, and, most importantly, for change is truly is why I am where I am. Passion always beats apathy.

How can one teach or mentor or build passion? This is something I have been thinking about a great deal. Passion, I have realized, is how we grow and evolve.

Passion is illustrated by continuing to learn and grow. By how we treat and serve our patients. By how we engage in our profession, with time and treasure, at the state and national levels.

I am going to try to not lose my passion because passion is what it takes to move our profession and practice forward. How can we decrease the apathy and increase passion within audiology? I am open to ideas!



Recorded Version of 2022 Audiology Resources Boot Camp: Foundations of Audiology Practice NOW AVAILABLE 

Monthly Coding and Reimbursement Tips


These codes can help you represent

98960 (Education and training for patient self-management by a qualified, non-physician health care professional using a standardized curriculum, face-to-face with the patient (could include caregiver/family) each 30 minutes; individual patient) and 98962 (Education and training for patient self-management by a qualified, non-physician health care professional using a standardized curriculum, face-to-face with the patient (could include caregiver/family) each 30 minutes; 5-8 patients) can be used to represent standardized

These codes should not be used to represent auditory rehabilitation (92630/33) or vestibular rehabilitation (97712) as there are more specific codes to represent these services.

98960/2 could be used to represent tinnitus or auditory processing treatments or therapies.

Audiologists need to document a standardized curriculum.

These codes are non-covered by Medicare if provided by a licensed audiologist.

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AAA Day Ahead - March 30, 2022 Hearing Aid Revenue Cycle Event Continuing Education Credit Included in Registration Fee

The Science of Hearing and Communication Inventories and Questionnaires

Many OTC/DTC and big box hearing aid delivery channels utilize hearing and communication inventories and questionnaires to gauge patient need and baseline listening needs.

Unfortunately, I do not see these same tools consistently utilized in most audiology practices, despite the fact that there is significant evidence supporting their utility.

I want to kick it old school this months and share the evidence provided to us by hearing scientists and audiology icons.

Hearing Handicap Inventory (HHI)

Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB)

Client Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI)

Self-Assessment of Communication (SAC)

The Differentiating Strategy of

Managed Care Engagement


Audiologists are facing an influx of new and growing competitors in the hearing healthcare space. Online and big box retailers, including self-assessment, in-person, over the counter, direct to consumer, and brick, legacy manufacturer owned clinics and mortar hearing instrument dispensers’ practices offer consumers often lower cost, more accessible amplification solutions.

As I have discussed many, many times before, audiology has many unique offerings and opportunities available to them. Audiologists, whether they want to recognize it or not, have a specialized skills set. While many physicians and even some hearing instrument dispensers mistakenly believe they can provide hearing healthcare equitable to that provided by audiologists, in reality most physicians have no idea how to practically and personally provide an audiology service and hearing instrument specialists do not have the training or licensure to be able to provide care beyond basic audiometry and traditional amplification delivered in a conventional manner.

Audiologists have so many clinical skills and offerings, most of which extend well beyond traditional hearing aids. From hearing conservation and prevention, to diagnosis of hearing loss, tinnitus, vestibular and auditory processing disorders to treatment of auditory and vestibular conditions through cerumen management, rehabilitation, counseling, implantable device programming, and the dispensing of amplification devices, audiologists have the background, training and experience to effectively evaluate and manage auditory and vestibular conditions and change the quality of life of those we serve. When we practice patient centered care, to the top of our license and education, we are unparalleled and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.

Managed care has been a huge part of my professional life over the last 30 years. While I have always seen consistent, while often poor, coverage of diagnostic services, coverage of treatment, including hearing aids, has always been limited. As a result, I have advised many, many audiologists to explore out of network engagement, over in-network participation. In many situations, third-party network or administrator participation just made no practical clinical practice or business sense. This paradigm though is beginning to shift.

The world of managed care and third-party administrators has changed exponentially since I started in this space in the 1990s. Every year, more and more individuals gain access to hearing aid coverage through employer based health plans, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medi-Gap plans, and VA Community Care, as well as hearing aid coverage mandates at the state level. In my subjective opinion, as managed care coverage continues to rise, it has becomes harder and harder to remain on the outside of hearing aid coverage. More individuals want to access their growing insurance coverage and benefits.

I have come to realize that managed care participation, which has often been our Achille’s Heel, can now become our strength and differentiator. You see, while we have many new and rising competitors in our space, including self-assessment and management, we still have one ace in the hole. That ace? Managed care participation.

See, this is an ADVANTAGE we have over our competitors. Hearing instrument dispensers have no access to traditional Medicare coverage and often have limited access to commercial insurance plans. This market is even more restrictive to over the counter and direct to consumer retailers and is not available to big box retailers. Managed care network, even third-party administrator participation, can give us an upper hand on these competitors. Even Costco cannot compete against a fully funded hearing aid benefit.

Despite what you hear on social media, audiologists can be professionally and financially successful in a managed care world, even with some third-party administrator plans. I have been helping audiologists navigate this minefield for decades. Success is possible. Are all managed care plans a win-win for audiologists and those we serve? No. Are they universally bad? I would say no to that as well. Success requires education, legwork, and consistency. We cannot will managed care and third-party administrators away. If we do not participate, they will just create their own workforce and find another delivery channel to sidestep us.

Please THINK OUTSIDE THE NOW and make BUSINESS decisions and not emotional ones. Please stop listening to colleagues who want you to blindly take on their insurance strategy. This rationale is one that helps them justify their decisions rather than benefit YOUR practice. Make sure the strategy they are sharing is compliant, transparent, and patient centered. Do YOUR own research. Run your OWN data and numbers. ASK questions when you lack answers. If the numbers do not add up, do not participate but do not discount managed care engagement without thoughtful exploration. I have seen it as a stepping stone to growing a practice and can truly differentiate your practice from disruptive entities. Change is upon us and how we respond is paramount to what happens next.

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