Most practices in the United States currently deliver hearing aids in a bundled manner. In other words, the provider “bundles” all of their hearing aid product and service costs, as well as our professional fees, under one, singular price (and code). The audiogram and hearing aid examination and selection are often included in the cost of the device. So, if the individual ultimately does not purchase a hearing aid, the provider will not receive payment for their time and expertise. Also, in a bundled hearing aid delivery, the pre-purchase of extended or long term care is required.
Hearing aid practices have been bundled since the 1960s. Audiologists became bundled when they earned the right to dispense hearing aids in the late 1970s. Providers believe that bundling produces increased revenues but there is no evidence to support that assertion.
Ultimately, providers bundle because it is how it has always been done and it’s easy to implement and manage.
But, is a bundled delivery what our customer desires? The hard of hearing, through their national association, the Hearing Loss association of America, have been requesting price transparency and unbundled hearing aid delivery for almost a decade. When providers did not respond, they moved to engage governmental and research entities to address the access and affordability issue. Both the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, also known as PCAST, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, also known as NASEM, both recommended price transparency and unbundled hearing aid pricing in their 2015 and 2016 reports.
Unbundling can be a win for consumers and providers. Unbundling is blowing the bundled price of a hearing aid delivery up into its individual services, visits and/or aspects of care. Individuals will be billed, separately, for any testing, communication needs assessments, fittings, and follow-up services. In other words, pre-payment of long-term care is optional.
Unbundling is a journey, not a sprint. For success every member of the team must believe in the model and know how to communicate it to their patients, referral sources and their community.
I have been trying to get providers to consider an unbundled hearing aid delivery model for over a decade. Audiology Resources wants to help you, through a series of individual videos and resources, turn your practice into an unbundled one or, at the very least, ensure your bundled pricing is based upon tangible data, that you are gathering information to make data driven business decisions, and that your clinic is scheduled efficiently. Each video, and accompanying resource guide, will take you step by step through the creation of an efficient, profitable data collection, scheduling, pricing and an unbundled hearing aid delivery and pricing model.
Each purchase of the entire Pricing and Unbundling series (all ten videos) comes with 30 days (from the date of purchase) of unlimited no charge coaching, questions and guidance, via email, text, phone or video chat. From the date of purchase, you will have one year to access the video series. Please note that, due to anti-trust laws, I do not review or create any pricing or delivery models for you and your practice as part of the no charge support. These are only services I can provide separately through Audiology Resources on a case by case basis.
The mission of Audiology Resources is to help audiologists be profitable, productive, and efficient, all while being ethical and compliant in meeting the needs of patients and consumers. We want to help audiologists and audiology evolve and thrive. You can go to www.audiologyresources.com or audiology-resources.thinkific.com for more information about the video series and its costs or about other Audiology Resources training opportunities and consulting services.
Kim Cavitt, AuD was a clinical audiologist and preceptor at The Ohio State University and Northwestern University for the first ten years of her career. Since 2001, Dr. Cavitt has operated her own Audiology consulting firm, Audiology Resources, Inc. Audiology Resources, Inc. provides comprehensive operational, compliance and reimbursement consulting services to hearing healthcare providers. She currently serves on the Audiology Quality Consortium (AQC) and is Chair of the State of Illinois Speech Pathology and Audiology Licensure Board. She also serves on committees through ADA and ASHA and is an Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern University and Western Michigan University. She is a past president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.