The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee conducted several hearings last week on pending veterans legislation. VetsFirst actively engaged the Committee and supported key bills that aim to improve services at VA for disabled veterans.
One of the bills supported by VetsFirst was H.R. 3508, which would allow VA to appoint hearing aid specialists to assist their audiology staff and expand services to veterans.
Veterans have been experiencing delays in receiving hearing aid services. The VA’s Office of Inspector General’s February 2014 audit of hearing aid services indicated that VA audiology staff attributed the hearing service delays to inadequate staffing. In addition to providing hearing aid services, these staff members are also required to conduct compensation and pension examinations. These dual roles, coupled with a substantial increase in demand for hearing services, has resulted in delays for hearing care.
This legislation would allow VA to appoint hearing aid specialists to assist veterans in receiving quicker access to needed services. These professionals are licensed in their respective states and can provide robust services that include: hearing testing; determining necessity for hearing assistive devices; performing hearing aid adjustments; taking impressions for ear molds, and providing counseling and aural rehabilitation. These hearing aid specialists have received extensive training and hundreds of professionals are currently entering the industry. The legislation’s reporting requirements related to wait times and contract referrals will also help identify remaining gaps in hearing care services.
VetsFirst will continue to actively support legislation, like H.R. 3508, that is responsive to the needs of disabled veterans. We look forward to working with the Committee as it considers which bills to recommend to the full House for approval.
For additional information on H.R. 3508, and to learn more about how you can help advocate for improved hearing care for veterans, please visit www.fittoserve.us.