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Academy Board Meets with FDA, Congress, and Private-Payer Representatives

Academy Board Meets with FDA, Congress, and Private-Payer Representatives

October 30, 2017 Government Relations News

As part of the Academy Board of Directors meeting last week, members of the board maximized their time in the Washington, DC area by meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), members of Congress, and representatives from the private-payer community. The board used these meetings to lead in representing audiology interests relative to over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, reimbursement policy, and advocacy, recognizing that these are all important priorities for Academy members.

Academy leaders had a productive meeting with representatives from the FDA to better understand the FDA’s timing and perspective on the formal rulemaking process to establish a category of OTC hearing aid devices. The Academy developed and shared in the meeting a preliminary list of recommendations. Important information gleaned in the meeting included that the FDA considers OTC devices as medical devices and will regulate them as such and that the FDA anticipates that the rulemaking process is likely to take the full three years designated in the OTC legislation. The Academy also shares concerns with the FDA about the need to mitigate consumer confusion related to OTC devices. The Academy will continue to dialogue with the FDA and other stakeholders to support Academy members with the evolution of the hearing aid delivery model.

Members of the board also visited Capitol Hill to meet with congressional representatives on a range of issues. Board members thanked members of Congress for introducing a resolution declaring October “National Audiology Awareness Month.” Other topics discussed with House and Senate offices included telehealth, sustained funding of the NIH, student loan forgiveness, general audiology awareness, and hearing-health issues impacting consumers and providers.

Finally, recognizing that improving the current reimbursement climate is a top concern for Academy members, the board convened a small payer forum comprised of Academy leaders and subject matter experts. The forum participants met with private-payer representatives to discuss reimbursement challenges facing audiologists and strategies to address some of these challenges. The board views this payer forum as an important step forward in creating a more comprehensive framework to address payer related reimbursement issues.

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