WASHINGTON, DC — House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe (R-Tenn) have introduced legislation that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to “appoint at least one licensed hearing aid specialist at each VA Medical Center in the country”.
According to the announcement, the legislation builds on the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2016 which granted VA authority to appoint licensed hearing aid specialists at VA medical centers, though they have so far failed to exercise that authority. This bill would mandate that VA hire these specialists in a timely manner.
“Veterans should not have to travel long distances to receive check-ups related to their hearing or seek help from non-VA contracted hearing aid specialists. VA should widely provide this service so that veterans can access this essential care. As the Chairman of the House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs and co-Chair of the Congressional Deaf Caucus, I am proud to lead this effort with Ranking Member Dr. Roe to require VA to appoint hearing specialists at every VA medical center. Our veterans have earned the right to the best medical care available through their service to our country, that must include any care they need for their hearing.”
–Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.)
“Hearing loss is a tragically common problem among veterans of all generations,” said Ranking Member Roe. “This bill would ensure that every VA Medical Center across the country has at least one licensed hearing aid specialist on board to give our nation’s heroes who rely on hearing aids the care they need in a timely manner. I am proud to introduce this important bill today with my friend, Chairman Takano, and I look forward to considering it in our Committee once we return to business as usual.”
The legislation is said to provide the following:
- Requiring VA to appoint at least one licensed hearing aid specialist at each VA medical center by September 30, 2022;
- Requiring VA to establish the technical qualifications for the appointment of these licensed hearing aid specialists within 180 days; and
- Requiring VA to submit an annual report to Congress on the progress of the Secretary’s appointing of licensed hearing aid specialists, potential conflicts preventing them from doing so, and a list of medical centers still without a specialist.
This bill has been endorsed by the International Hearing Society, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Blind Veterans Association, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Source: Office of Rep. Mark Takano