Audiology dispute in Costa Rica as state model for buying hearing aids changes

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A change in Costa Rica's hearing aid purchasing model has triggered a dispute between speech-hearing therapists and state health administrators.

The Costa Rican daily newspaper, La Nación, reports that a decision by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) to alter the way hearing aids are purchased has been met with dismay by the country's main association of therapists (CTCR).

Under the previous model, which ran for 30 years, patients could choose both the hearing aid model and the private practice for fitting and treatment. The new mechanism preselects nine hearing aid provision firms for a state bidding process put into operation and closed on April 10. The CCSS maintains that this new model allows for greater quality control, freeing the patient from the responsibility of failures in the hearing device process.

However, the therapists' association issued a press release alleging that the change has been founded on a study full of "inconsistencies", and that limiting the providers to nine unjustifiably cuts out the rest of Costa Rica's 45 hearing aid providers. Waiting lists for treatment will lengthen, the association argues, if the CCSS has just 30 audiologists working for it.

Source: La Nación

P.W.