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20Q: OTC Hearing Aids and a 21st Century Pricing and Delivery Model - A Change Is Gonna Come

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1.  What is the current status of the OTC Hearing Aid Act?
  1. it passed the House and is pending in the Senate
  2. it was vetoed by the president in 2017
  3. it was just introduced in the current Congress
  4. it was passed into law in 2017
2.  The author believes that the advent of OTC hearing aids:
  1. will lead to de-regulation and unsafe products
  2. will help to regulate specifications, technical safeguards, and implement consumer protection measures for new technologies in the hearing space
  3. will make audiologists obsolete
  4. will lower hearing aid adoption rates
3.  Prior to 1977 when audiologists were not legally able to sell hearing aids:
  1. audiology as a profession did not exist
  2. audiologists did not recommend or program hearing aids
  3. audiologists provided hearing aid related services such as evaluation, developing care plans, adjusting hearing aids, delivering aural rehabilitation
  4. audiologists did not charge for any services
4.  The author states that audiologists can be successful when OTC hearing aids are available by:
  1. boycotting companies who manufacture or distribute OTC products
  2. differentiate themselves by only offering premium hearing aids
  3. practicing evidence-based, patient-centric care based on the full state-defined scope of practice and charging for services
  4. offering free services to patients who come in with OTC devices
5.  The author refers audiologists to lessons from dentistry, chiropractic care and optometry to show that:
  1. these professions show value and evidence for their care and do not typically give away free services
  2. these professions have full coverage for Medicare for their services
  3. these professions do not have OTC products within their professional market
  4. these professions can help support audiologists to stop the OTC bill from passing
6.  Itemization is:
  1. Listing the individual, distinct costs of items and services
  2. Lumping items and services costs into one single amount as one line item
  3. Listing manufacturer suggested retail as the cost to the client
  4. Carrying more than one brand of hearing aids
7.  Unbundling:
  1. is the same as itemization
  2. is where individual costs of the items and services are listed separately and are negotiable, that is, some items or services may be optional
  3. Means including the costs of hearing devices, batteries, warranty and professional services as a single, non-negotiable amount to the consumer
  4. is not legal in most states
8.  In a hybrid delivery model:
  1. you cannot practice evidence-based care
  2. services are provided at no charge
  3. the patient always pays for everything out of pocket
  4. the audiologist is paid for his or her expertise based on services provided
9.  The author indicates that a potentially positive outcome of OTC hearing aids is:
  1. OTC hearing aids may increase the hearing aid adoption rate
  2. OTC hearing aids may increase access to hearing care
  3. OTC hearing aids may allow audiologists to generate more revenue by no longer providing free services based on long term bundled contracts
  4. all of the above
10.  To prepare for the advent of OTC hearing aids, the author recommends that audiologists:
  1. build a pricing and delivery structure that is patient-centric, code and time driven, and evidence-based
  2. develop an exit strategy and retire early
  3. join a buying group and compete with OTC models on price
  4. charge more for products and services to make up for the inevitable drop in sales

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