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HCFA Audiology Regulation

HearWHAC HearWHAC at netins.net
Sun Apr 28 22:00:43 EST 1996

Tom Muller writes:
>I am a long time watcher but first time poster

Thanks for your excellent post, Tom. Please keep it up.

>Well, here is a specific example upon which I need an opinion:  An HMO in 
>Arizona has recently signed a contract with a hearing IPA (Individual 
>Provider Association) to have them provide services for their medicare risk 
>insurance plan  -  an HMO policy for medicare patients, HCFA approved.  The 
>agreement states that the IPA members will provide FREE hearing tests, and 
>also a 30% discount on hearing aids to all members.  Right off the bat, of 
>course, I am furious about the idea of a FREE hearing test  -  aren't we 
>sending the wrong message?

I wouldn't be half as concerned about the FREE screening test as about the 
30% discount on hearing aids. That is NOT 30% off of the profit. That is 
30% off of everything. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Iowa pulled that one 
several years ago in Iowa. They paid no part, they only expected the 
dispenser to discount a hearing aid 30%. Those who participated were doing 
all kinds of things to keep from giving the 30%. I always wanted to see 
BC/BS do an audit to make certain the discounts were being given.

Needless to say, there is no dispenser in the business who can give a 
legitimate 30% off of their usual and customary price and survive. The 
business cemeteries are filled with those that have tried.

Paul Woodard ;-)
Des Moines Iowa USA

Incidentally, in our practice the audiologists are paid a percentage of the 
"gross profit" they contribute. This has to be the most fair way to pay 
someone. If they want to give away 30% of the selling price of a hearing 
aid, they can, but it reduces their income immensely. In other words, they 
take their share of the loss. Totally fair!

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