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NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-16; 9 September 2015

The Issue: Support the Veterans Hearing Aid Access and Assistance Act and Veterans’ Access to Hearing Health Act of 2015

Immediate Action Required: Contact your senators and representative immediately and ask them to support S. 564 and H.R. 353, bills to include licensed hearing aid specialists as eligible for appointment in the Veterans Health Administration(VHA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs

More Information: NGAUS strongly supports S. 564, sponsored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), and H.R. 353, sponsored by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI), bills that would create a new provider class for hearing aid specialists within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enabling the VA to hire hearing aid specialists to help deliver hearing aid services to veterans on a more timely basis.

These bills would also require the VA to report annually to Congress on appointment wait times and the utilization of providers for hearing-related services, which would assist the VA’s efforts to address the current backlogs and provide data to inform Congress about the challenges veterans are facing accessing hearing aid services. In February 2014, the VA Inspector General released a report that found the VHA issues 30 percent of its hearing aids to veterans more than 30 days from the estimated date the facility received the hearing aids from its vendors.

The VA continues to see a dramatic rise in the demand for audiology services with tinnitus and hearing loss being the two most prevalent service-connected disabilities for veterans.

Hearing aid specialists are already recognized by several federal agencies to perform hearing healthcare services and they would also help the VA hearing healthcare team by providing hearing aid evaluations, hearing aid fittings and orientation and other customary after care services including repairs. The addition of hearing aid specialists to the VA team should prompt faster service for our nation’s veterans.

Please contact your senators and representatives and urge them to support these bills. NGAUS Point of Contact:

Grace Washbourne
Joint Programs Manager
202-408-5893
grace.washbourne@ngaus.org

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