Believe it or not but the Senate has a piece of legislation in front of them right now called NYS Senate 3788, see the link below to access the actual legislation.
It repeals a long standing prohibition in NYS on the for profit sale of hearing aids by Physicians. This prohibition was enacted to protect the rights of consumers by ensuring that Physicians do not benefit financially from the sale of products that they order or prescribe.
Let’s be realistic here, do we really want our Internist prescribing hearing aids and not being required to have additional training? Will this mean that the medical assistants will program the aids? Can you imagine the waiting time in a Doctors office?
I don’t know about you but the last thing I want, are for more hearing aids to be left in bedside drawers. I have yet to meet a parent who told me their Pediatrician diagnosed a hearing loss. More often than not, I’ve heard of Pediatricians telling parents that the child will outgrow their chronic ear infections or fluid. I’ve rarely heard of an Internist referring their senior patient to get an audiological. Hearing loss comes with old age so why bother sending them for an audiological?
Could you imagine if a Physician was given the right to sell the drugs they prescribe to a patient or receive financial benefit from the referral of a patient to a clinical lab? The laws that are in place, were established to protect consumers from the possibility that personal financial gain could interfere with the Physicians independent medical judgement.
I bet I know what you’re thinking? Well, hey, Audiologists make a profit and receive financial benefit. Selling hearing aids is a business just as selling cars is a business. However, do we want even more professionals involved in the selling of hearing aids? and if so, will they be required to be trained? Well how about this, why isn’t the Senate spending more time on getting our hearing aids covered by insurances? or why doesn’t the Senate require the hearing aid manufacturers to control the prices of hearing aids?
I say, lets focus on the real issues and stop looking for ways to spread the specialty. Let’s focus on getting hearing aids fully or partially covered by insurances so that children and adults who are hearing impaired or late deafened can have access to the technology.
Call the Assembly switchboard this week at 518-455-4100 or contact your representative. Oh by the way, I did not see one single phone number for the hearing impaired or deaf. Strongly recommend you call either through relay, video relay and/or make sure to tell them you are hearing impaired or late deafened. To contact a NYS assembly person: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/
To Access the legislation: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S3788-2011
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