COVID-19 Updates

Medicaid/Medicare

Telehealth Medicare CI services likely to continue past original July deadline

6/11/2020

ACI Alliance supported approval of CI services for audiologists and SLPs under telehealth. Click here to read the full letter.  It appears that CMS is set to continue those services, perhaps indefinitely. 

Click here to read full story.

 

Providing CI-Related Telehealth Services under COVID-19

5/28/2020

As we continue to negotiate this new COVID-19 world, you may have questions on how to provide telehealth services or on other aspects of your CI practice. American Cochlear Implant Alliance strives to provide resources to help our members learn from each other and also benefit from the national resources that we collect.

Click here for the resources organized by state

 

Medicare Telehealth Approved During COVID-19 for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

5/1/2020

On April 30th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published an interim final rule that  further expands Medicare waivers during the COVID-19 crisis.  It is our understanding that the new waivers expand Medicare telehealth services to all health care professionals that are eligible to bill for traditional professional services under Medicare. This expansion means audiologists and speech-language pathologists will now be able to provide and bill for telehealth services.  This responds to the request made to CMS by ACI Alliance on April 14.

Click here to read more.

 

ACI Alliance Supports Congressional proposal to codify telehealth under Medicare and Medicaid

4/28/2020

The Emergency COVID-19 Telehealth Response Act would ensure that physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists, and clinical social workers can receive telehealth reimbursement rates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) while providing necessary health services. Currently, CMS has not authorized telehealth usage for these five categories of specialized care. 

Click here to read more.

 

Request for CMS for Telehealth under Medicare for CI Services

4/20/2020

We wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to request that telehealth services provided by audiologists and SLPs be covered for Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 emergency. Read our letter and stay tuned for how you can help with contacting Congressional Members on the need for telehealth to address patient access during COVID-19.

Click here to read the full letter.

 

Requesting State Medicaid Waivers

4/2/2020

Medicaid Waiver Request Template

During recent meetings, our State Champions requested a template for requesting a Medicaid Waiver for providing speech language and audiology services via telehealth.  Please personalize the template to highlight your own experience and how a waiver would benefit your patients. To locate the Medicaid Director in your state, please click here or contact us for additional assistance.

 

State Medicaid Waivers

4/1/2020

The COVID-19 virus has resulted in rapid responses to ensure better protection of both providers and patients by promoting telehealth vs. office visits. State Medicaid programs have the flexibility to grant waivers that extend this virtual safety net to all providers. 

 

Telehealth

FCC Support for COVID-19 Telehealth Technology

4/15/2020

The Federal Communications Commission FCC recently adopted the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This program will provide immediate support to certain health care providers by funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide telehealth services.  ACI Alliance believes this may be applicable to cochlear implant services for audiology and speech-language pathology.

For eligible health sites, the funds would cover additional purchased laptops, devices, and programs. We encourage our Member Organizations and other institutions to review the full requirements to see if their program may aid their ability to provide telehealth services.

To be eligible, providers must obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) but can still apply while they await the decision from the USAC. Potential providers are limited to:

  • post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools;
  • community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants;
  • local health departments or agencies;
  • community mental health centers;
  • not-for-profit hospitals;
  • rural health clinics;
  • skilled nursing facilities;
  • or consortia of health care providers consisting of one or more entities from the previous categories.

Additional information on the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, including FAQs and tips to navigate the application, can be found here Additional questions on the Program can be sent directly to the FCC at EmergencyTelehealthSupport@fcc.gov.

 

COVID-19 and CI Telehealth Services

3/24/2020

Patient Information

Consideration of Face Shields as a Return to School Option

6/12/2020

As children with hearing loss return to school, we all wonder how they will manage with teachers and classmates wearing masks in the classroom. ACI Alliance has published a paper exploring shields as a return to school option. 

Read the full paper here

Click here to read more on Children & Educational Needs.

 

Tips for People Who Converse with CI Recipients on the Telephone

5/14/2020

Within the space of a few months, telecommunication in COVID-19 has become the main way to communicate with the people in our lives. Face-to-face communication has been replaced by video-chatting and phone calls. In today's post, I'll discuss telephone use and ways to reduce communication difficulties.

Read the full blog here.

 

Adult Cochlear Implant Use During the COVID-19 Crisis

4/27/2020

Tips to Consistently Use your CI during Stressful Times

The post is dedicated, with love and understanding, to the cochlear implant recipients who may be taking a break from their CIs during the difficult coronavirus time frame.

Click here to read the full blog from Naama Tsach PhD 

 

Patient Troubleshooting Resource

4/17/2020

Given the closure of most cochlear implant centers during the COVID-19 crisis, patients and families may be seeking help with troubleshooting their cochlear implant device without the ability to visit their CI center. The following advice for patients should help you navigate your concerns.

Click here to read more

 

Advocacy and Policy

ACI Alliance Thanks Secretary Devos for Maintaining IDEA Protections

4/28/2020

The American Cochlear Implant (ACI Alliance) writes to thank you for the recent decision to not grant further waivers of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act).

Read the full letter here

 

Analysis of CARES Act as it Impacts Health Facilities

4/1/2020

ACI Alliance public policy advisors from The Powers Law Firm completed two memos entitled “Summary of Economic Provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act” analyzing the 800 page federal legislation.” These memos analyze and summarize a very comprehensive bill.  The CEO and legislative staff in your institution may also benefit from this content. 

 

ACI Alliance Signs on to Congressional Leadership Letter on Safeguard Rights of People

3/21/2020

Click here to read letter.

 

Additional Resources:

Telepractice 101 from Hearing First

UNC Tele-audiology Webinar

Tele-therapy 101 from NY State Champ Elizabeth Rosenzweig

Learning LSL at Home from Hearing First

ASHA COVID-19 Information


 

The mission of the American Cochlear Implant (ACI) Alliance is to advance access to the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness.