LIVONIA, MICHIGAN — The International Hearing Society (IHS) is launching their nationwide campaign on Monday: Appreciation Week for Our Warriors. The campaign coincides with Veterans Day, on November 11th, and IHS has asked its members for help this week in promoting the organization’s ongoing push to pass the Fit to Serve legislation through congress.
Each day this week IHS has asked its members to help shed light on the challenges faced by veteran’s trying to access hearing healthcare through the VA and also promote the value that hearing aid specialists could bring to the VA.
Full Week of Events Planned
To continue raising awareness of veteran’s hearing health issues and to support the IHS-backed legislation, HR. 353 and S. 564, the organization sent the following suggested weekly event plans to its members in October to prepare:
Monday, November 9: Host a Veteran Event – Invite your patients who are Veterans or military spouses to an open house at your office. Encourage them to wear or bring military memorabilia or photos from their time in the service. What a great opportunity to let them know how much they are appreciated, and let them know you are working towards making VA care more accessible and convenient. You can have staffed-computers or letter writing stations available so they can take action to support our Fit to Serve legislation, H.R. 353/S. 564.
Tuesday, November 10: District Office Day – Meet with your Member of Congress or their staff at their district office to educate them about H.R. 353/S. 564 and ask them to co-sponsor the bill! Get started now in scheduling a meeting, and check out these Tips for Meeting with Members of Congress on Fit to Serve.
Wednesday, November 11: Veterans Day – Thank Our “Fit to Serve” Champions! In addition to thanking every Veteran you know, take a minute or two to post a thank you on our Congressional champions’ Facebook or Twitter pages!
Thursday, November 12: Media Blitz! – Local television and news outlets are always looking for a compelling story. With so much attention focused on problems veterans are having accessing care across the spectrum of VA health services, we need to bring light to the fact that hearing loss and tinnitus are the top two disabilities veterans are seeking help for – yet the VA cannot keep up. Contact your local news station to pitch a story, perhaps citing the experience of a local veteran who trying to access care through the VA. Or, write a letter to the editor of a local or state newspaper.
Friday, November 13: VSO Outreach – Call the Commander of your local veteran service organization – a VFW or Disabled American Veterans (DAV) post – and tell them about Fit to Serve. Ask if you can attend an upcoming post meeting to share Fit to Serve and seek support from the post and its members. You may be surprised by how many members of the post have hearing loss and could use your help!
IHS held its first congressional briefing on the Fit to Serve legislation on October 27th, which was attended by the bill’s sponsors in both the House and Senate, as well as representatives from AMVETS and the American Legion.
Currently HR. 353 has 34 co-sponsors in the House, with Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. André Carson (D-IN) newly added since October. The Senate version of the bill, S. 564, currently has 9 co-sponsors, with new sponsor Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) lending his support on October 22nd.
*title image courtesy IHS