The year 2020 brought with it many surprises and challenges across the health-care landscape. As 2021 begins, the Academy is actively engaged with several legislative and regulatory initiatives to safeguard and advance the profession of audiology. While it is impossible to predict everything that may arise, a few issues are likely to be at the forefront of the national conversation related to audiology. The Medicare Audiology Access and Services Act (Joint Audiology Bill) The Academy’s top legislative goal will continue to be advocating for the passage of the joint audiology bill. Since the introduction of the legislation in 2019, the Academy has worked with other audiology stakeholders to secure congressional champions and lobby to garner additional support for the Medicare Audiology Access and Services Act of 2019. This legislation would grant audiologists “practitioner” status in Medicare, remove the physician referral requirement, and allow audiologists to provide and be reimbursed for diagnostic and treatment services. Passage of these key elements of the joint legislation are critical to advancing the profession of audiology. Practitioner status allows audiologists to provide services through telehealth, lays the foundation for proper recognition of the profession by other health professions, and provides a stepping stone to increased reimbursement opportunities for audiologists. According to a report by a consulting firm, the passage of the joint audiology bill would result in a relatively modest federal outlay over the next decade and would eliminate duplicative services and reduce Medicare beneficiary copays. A new Congress will begin in 2021 and the Academy is strategizing with other stakeholders for the reintroduction of this legislation. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!