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News & Press: Legislative Updates

Contact Your Members of Congress to Oppose VA Hearing Aid Specialists Legislation

Wednesday, October 7, 2015  
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Hearing aid specialists have made inroads to expanding their scope of practice by pushing legislation that they claim is for the benefit of veterans. It's a Trojan horse and we must stop it! 

 

The Veterans Hearing Aid Access and Assistance Act (S. 564/H.R. 353) has been introduced in both the Senate and House. We need all audiologists—especially those who reside in states that have Senators who sit on the Senate Committee—to make their concerns known.

 

Contact your member of Congress today and tell them to oppose S. 564/H.R. 353!

 

What is the Veterans Hearing Aid Access and Assistance Act (S. 564/H.R. 353) and why should I care?

This legislation, conceived and shepherded by the International Hearing Society (IHS), would formally recognize hearing aid specialists as a distinct health care profession under the Veterans Health Administration (VA).

 

The bill is unnecessary and, if enacted, stands to diminish the quality of hearing health care services received by veterans. The only beneficiaries of S. 564/H.R. 353 appear to be hearing aid specialists who seek to elevate their profession beyond what is required by their training and qualifications.

 

Currently, the VA is authorized to hire hearing aid specialists under their current and proper classification as health technicians. The VA is also authorized to contract and refer patients to outside hearing aid specialists through the VA Contract Services and/or Fee Basis programs for the services that they are licensed to provide. This bill is a prescription for fragmented, inconsistent care. Hearing aid specialists are not educated, trained, or licensed to provide the comprehensive diagnostic and rehabilitative audiologic services required by veterans.

 

What can I do to prevent this bill from being passed?

Contact your members of Congress now and tell them to oppose S. 564/H.R. 353!

  1. Call them directly through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.
  2. E-mail them today.

Note: Please call and write your members of Congress. The hearing aid specialists are actively and aggressively pushing this legislation and members of Congress need to hear the opposing view.

 

All members of the Senate must be contacted as soon as possible, but most importantly those who sit on the Committee on Veterans' Affairs:

  • Chairman Johnny Isakson (R - GA)
  • *Senator Jerry Moran (R - KS)
  • Senator John Boozman (R - AR)
  • Senator Dean Heller (R - NV)
  • *Senator Bill Cassidy (R - LA)
  • Senator Mike Rounds (R - SD)
  • Senator Thom Tillis (R - NC)
  • Senator Dan Sullivan (R - AK)
  • Ranking Member Richard Blumenthal (D – CT)
  • Senator Patty Murray (D - WA)
  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I - VT)
  • Senator Sherrod Brown (D - OH)
  • * Senator Jon Tester (D - MT)
  • Senator Mazie Hirono (D - HI)
  • Senator Joe Manchin (D - WV)

*Denotes current cosponsor of S. 564

 

Is it really up to me?

Yes! Hearing aid specialists have been tenacious in their pursuit to pass S. 564/H.R. 353. Your members of Congress need to hear from audiologists immediately about this issue. This bill is at a critical point in the legislative process and immediate action is needed from every audiologist.

 

Please share this alert with your colleagues and also with any veterans that you know and urge them to take action as well.

 

Take action!

 

ASHA Resources
For additional information, please contact Ingrida Lusis, ASHA's director of federal and political advocacy, at ilusis@asha.org


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