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Billing for cerumen removal

EARTODAY at aol.com EARTODAY at aol.com
Fri Oct 2 10:35:15 EST 1998

Re Kim's message - audiologists cannot bill for cerument removal even if there
is a physician referral - it is not a code that Medicare will pay audiologists
for, period.

The Medicare law was written in the 1960's - it provided coverage for
procedures provided by physicians and by certain "limited license physicians";
e.g., optometrists, and a few others - all of which are doctoral entry level
professions.  Audiologists are not listed as limited license physicians, thus
the requirement for physician referral and the limited participation of
audiologists.  Until audiology has made the transition to a professional
doctorate as the entry level, until we are defined as a "diagnosing"
profession by the SOC codes,  we will continue to have difficulty in
functioning like a truly autonomous profession.  At the time the Medicare law
was written, audiology was a relatively new profession, still lock-stepped
with speech-language pathologists (speech therapists at that time), few
licensure laws in place, no audiology professional organizations, no real
lobbying capability, just newly requiring a master's degree as the entry
level.  Thirty years later, we are still struggling to get our major
university programs to move toward a professional doctorate.  We've got a long
road ahead.  Angela Loavenbruck

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