If the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has its way, people with certain types of hearing loss will no longer be able to benefit from proven bone anchored hearing solutions such as the Cochlear™ Baha® Implant System.
The problem stems from a proposed rule being considered by CMS that would classify bone anchored hearing solutions, otherwise known as osseointegrated hearing implants, as hearing aids, not prosthetics.
The adoption of the rule could affect the quality of hearing for thousands of people in the United States who have found traditional hearing aids to be ineffective in treating hearing problems, such as microtia and atresia or other conditions.
In contrast to traditional hearing aids, which aren’t covered under Medicare, these systems are surgically implanted and use bone conduction to replace the function of the middle ear or the cochlea, whereas hearing aids require no medical procedures and are not permanent.
“In 2006, CMS correctly classified the Baha Implant System as a prosthetic device that replaces the function of the middle ear and cochlea,” said Anthony Manna, President, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions. “If the new proposal is accepted, the United States would be one of the very few industrialized nations not to cover this life changing technology.”
To date, the Baha Implant System has helped more than 100,000 people worldwide hear and enjoy a better quality of life. In the United States alone, thousands have enjoyed the profound change in hearing such prosthetics make possible.
Even so, CMS is still considering this change in policy, which could affect thousands of Americans, not only those who may be good candidates for this type of prosthetic, but current recipients who would be unable to upgrade their technology or even maintain their current system due to the loss of these important benefits.
The good news is that CMS is still considering the new rule. The hearing community is hoping that current and prospective users and their loved ones, in addition to advocates of prosthetic technologies, will voice their dissatisfaction with the proposed rule so these life-changing technologies can continue to be covered by Medicare.
Action Is Needed by August 29, 2014 to Prevent Passing of Legislation. There are a number of ways people can offer their support and voice their concern for the rule change. For more information, visit www.HelpNowHearAlways.com.