Association of VA Audiology Supports the Continuation of In-House C&P Examinations

Dear AVAA Members,

The Association of VA Audiologists strongly supports the continuation of Compensation and Pension Examinations being completed within the VA.  A recent policy change to the Compensation and Pension Examination process will now have all examinations completed by outside contractors.  The Compensation and Examination Advisory Committee has provided a notice of a virtual meeting that is open to the public and will address several topics; specifically the discussion of “the most appropriate means of responding to the needs of Veterans relating to disability compensation”.  This will provide an opportunity for audiologists and other disciplines across VA to voice our support for the continuation of in-house Compensation and Pension examination.  We have included information regarding the meeting as well the AVAA position statement regarding Compensation and Pension examinations below.

The virtual meeting is scheduled to be held over two days on Tuesday December 1, 2020 and Wednesday December 2, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST.  The virtual meeting call-in number is 1-800-767-1750 and the access code is 75937#.  Comments may be shared with the committee via submission of a one to two page document no later than November 19, 2020.  Members who are interested in submitting their comments regarding this topic or any other areas addressed in the attached meeting notice pdf, should submit their comments to Sian Roussel at while including your name, professional affiliation, email address, and phone number.

To the Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation:

The Association of VA Audiologists represents every audiologist employed by the Department of Veterans affairs.  We are writing to your committee to voice our support for continuing VA Compensation and Pension Examinations at VA facilities rather than having 100% of the examinations be outsourced to the private sector.

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss are the two most common service connected disabilities among Veterans.  These two disabilities represent 12.8% of all service connected disabilities.  In FY19, Tinnitus and Hearing Loss were the first and third most prevalent service connected disabilities, respectively.  VA audiologists are well trained at providing high-level, fully accurate Compensation and Pension examinations to our nation’s Veterans.

Our main concern is always providing the best care to our Veterans.  In 2018, the Government Accountability Office reported that they do not track whether these private contractors are meeting quality and timeliness standards that our Veterans deserve.  In the Government Accountability Office’s 2018 report, recommendations were made to address these issues, yet two years later these recommendations have not been implemented to ensure proper oversight.

Prior to this policy change, in 2016 nearly 60% of Compensation and Pension examinations were completed by outside contractors at a cost of over 6 billion dollars.  Fully outsourcing all Compensation and Pension Examinations will further inflate this already unnecessarily large number while also placing the Veteran at risk of receiving an improper evaluation since quality of care evaluations are not in place.  Additionally, contractors may not provide full attention to the Compensation and Pension Examinations which could lead to improper and inconsistent ratings being provided which may come as a detriment to the patient or to U.S. tax payers.

Lastly, many Veterans also seek audiologic services at the same time as their Compensation and Pension Examination.  This allows Veterans with hearing loss to receive necessary services such as hearing aid evaluations, hearing aid checks, and hearing aid adjustments to be completed on the same day as their Compensation and Pension appointment.  This is convenient for the Veteran, helps reduce wait times within the VA, and ensures continuity of care.<

While we do agree that there are times when a need exists for private contractors to supplement the Compensation and Pension Examination process to reduce wait times and improve ease of access when necessary, we do not believe that outsourcing all Compensation and Pension Examinations to private contractors is in the best interest of the Veteran, VA, or American tax payers.  We hope that you will reconsider your position and continue to allow the VA to provide in-house Compensation and Pension Examinations to ensure we maintain the best care possible for all of our nation’s Veterans.

The Association of VA Audiologists


VA C&P Advisory Committee Comments Request