The American Academy of Audiology continues to stand in strong opposition to the “Fit to Serve” legislation, which is under consideration by the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees (H.R. 353 and S. 564). Introduced earlier this year by Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), the bills would permit the Veterans Administration to hire hearing aid specialists to deliver hearing healthcare services that currently can be provided only by or under the supervision of licensed audiologists.
By letter of June 29, to VA Committee leaders in both the House and Senate, the Academy wrote: “While we appreciate the intent of the bill sponsors to ensure that veterans have access to quality care, the Fit to Serve legislation would not achieve this goal and would result in a compromise in the quality of hearing care that already exists for veterans”. On July 14, the Academy joined forces with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in a powerful Statement for the Record before the House VA Health Subcommittee:
“Given the minimal training required to become a hearing aid specialist in comparison to the rigor of training for an audiologist, this provider type is poorly equipped to deliver the level of care that veterans require.”
The Academy of Doctors of Audiology has now also joined our opposition to the Fit to Serve legislation. Working together, the audiology organizations submitted a Joint Statement to the Senate VA Committee on September 16. Audiologists throughout the country have sent thousands of letters to Capitol Hill opposing H.R. 353 and S. 564.
Thanks to your donations to the American Academy of Audiology Political Action Committee (PAC), the Academy has been able to carry its message directly to Congressional leaders. We are gaining access to and building relationships with Members of Congress who are in a position to help the Academy defeat the Fit to Serve bills. Our voices are being heard in Washington, DC. We are making progress. The House VA Committee postponed its consideration of H.R. 353 on July 22. The Senate has not moved forward with S. 564.
We must stay vigilant. The fight is not over. The hearing aid specialists are pushing hard to pass this bill by the end of the year, and there has been a slow, but steady rise in co-sponsors for the bills.
The PAC is a vital part of the government relations process. Through your financial support, our voice in Washington DC will continue to be heard. Please consider making a contribution today. Every dollar donated counts! With your help we can defeat the Fit to Serve legislation once and for all.