- Published on 13 May 2014
A new bill, H.R. 3508, has been put forward in the US House of Representatives by Republican and Democrat representatives (Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) and Tim Walz (D-Minnesota)) proposing changes to recruitment of specialists at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Currently, the VA is only authorized to use audiologists to provide hearing services to veterans. According to an opinion report in The Hill, “while audiology doctors are a great resource for the VA and provide adequate service for veterans, there are not enough to keep up with the demand and needs of veterans.” More veterans seek help from the VA for hearing loss than for any other disability. The demand for audiology services is also reported to be growing at nearly 10% per year and the limited resources of the VA are making it difficult to keep up with demand. Some war veterans wait weeks or even months for an appointment and some, who have sufficient resources, prefer to pay out-of-pocket for their hearing devices rather than waiting to go through the system.
The bipartisan bill aims to authorize the appointment of qualified hearing aid specialists in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to “give both our veterans and audiologists much needed relief while conserving resources at the VA.” The idea is that VA audiologists would then be able to focus on specialized cases and complex conditions, reducing waiting times for simple appointments to get hearing aids.
H.R. 3508 has the support of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the International Hearing Society, VetsFirst, Blinded Veterans Association, and American Veterans, the report adds.Source: The Hill.com