Government Relations news from American Academy of Audiology here.
Current issues and Action Alerts here.
Major items for consideration:
1. Department of Labor (DOL) Rescinds Hearing Aid Specialist Apprenticeship Program- SUCCESS
On November 15th, ADA was informed that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) officially rescinded the highly concerning apprenticeship program for hearing aid dispensers. The controversial apprenticeship program was rescinded on July 25th. The DOL cited the need to seek additional input from audiology stakeholders before creating such a program in the future. This information was provided through a correspondence with Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), who expressed concern to the DOL on the development of the apprenticeship program absent input from audiology organizations. ADA will continue to monitor future actions by the DOL regarding hearing aid dispenser apprenticeship to ensure that the public interest is protected.
3. ADA's 18x18 initiative
4. Federal Bill H.R. 2519- Audiology Patient Choice Act
5. U.S. Senate Passes H.R. 3471, “Fit to Serve” Bill with Patient Protections
On November 17th, the U.S. Senate passed, H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2015 by unanimous consent. This bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 12, 2016, and is expected to be signed into law by the President. While the legislation includes a provision that would recognize hearing aid specialists for appointment under the VA, it specifically requires that hearing aid specialists provide services only related to the practice of fitting and dispensing of hearing aids, and under a treatment plan of an audiologist.
The passage of H.R. 3471 (and the DOL decision referenced above) represent the culmination of efforts by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), to prevent hearing aid dispensers from inappropriately expanding their job functions and duties both within the VA system and on the state level.
Federal Legislative Issues