H.R. 6612, Improved Hearing Health Care for Veterans

To our fellow members of AVAA,

Legislation has been proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 6612) and in the U.S. Senate (S. 785) which would require Hearing Instrument Specialists to be hired at all VA Medical Centers.  This legislation would also require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to “prescribe the technical qualifications” of Hearing Instrument Specialists in the VA.  These bills have the potential to completely change the way hearing healthcare is provided to our nation’s heroes as well as to possibly change the scope of practice for Hearing Instrument Specialists at the federal level.  All of the national audiology organizations are aware of this legislation.  AVAA stands strongly opposed to this legislation as it will negatively impact Veteran’s hearing healthcare.  In addition, this legislation will lead to increased financial costs for the VA, not reduce patient wait times, and will lead to increase space burdens for all VA Medical Centers.

The American Academy of Audiology has provided information on these bills in their Legislative Action Center.  The AAA Legislative Action Center provides a tool for you to directly contact your representatives to state your opposition to this legislation.  AAA also provides a template that you can use in your communication with your representative or you can use the AVAA opposition letter attached in this statement which provides additional information as to why we are against both bills.

This legislation could lead to Hearing Instrument Specialists being able to redefine their own scope of practice at the federal level.  The language of the bill states that O*NET would be used to define the core tasks a Hearing Instrument Specialist complete.  O*NET definitions of tasks and work activities are created based on surveys of members within a profession. This potential expansion of allowable services through these bills could then lead to the same changes occurring at the state level which would ultimately be a direct threat the field of audiology and all patient hearing healthcare. We stand committed to fighting for the hearing healthcare of our Veterans, for VA audiologists, and for the profession of audiology.

The Association of VA Audiologists

Click here for the AVAA Opposition Template »