This one counts today! We got blindsided and need emails sent ASAP. Unexpectedly, HB 957 is going to be heard in a committee on Thursday, April 1 at 9:00 AM when we understood that it had no traction. This is the House’s bill that is the same as SB 700’s amendment that removes the requirement of appropriate hearing testing and hearing aid fitting procedures by having patients sign a waiver to these procedures. If the committee passes it on Thursday, it is one step closer to becoming law. Please, please, please send emails today to the reps listed below and create a personalized sentence such as, “I am an audiologist practicing in….and I care about protecting our hearing impaired Floridians, most of whom are elderly and are the most vulnerable to malicious acts from unscrupulous entities that this bill could propagate because of the removal of safety procedures in the selling and fitting of FDA regulated hearing aids.”
Also, we need an audiologist to be present at that hearing in Tallahassee this Thursday, April 1. If anyone is planning to be in that area and could be present for the hearing, that would be most favorable to our cause. Please email Julia Andrews ASAP at email@example.com if you can be there.
Please see below for the list of representatives to email and the suggested content to place after personalized introduction. Don’t forget to add your address as well. Thank you!
Important: Personalize the e-mail as stated above!
The remainder of the sample below can be pasted with your opening statement or customized. (Please keep TFisk@DeafKidsCan.org and firstname.lastname@example.org in the email block. It helps us with follow up to have an idea of the email traffic to the legislators).
E-mail Block (Commas for most email providers): Will.Robinson@myfloridahouse.gov, JuanF.Barquin@myfloridahouse.gov, Carlos.Smith@myfloridahouse.gov, email@example.com, Kristen.Arrington@myfloridahouse.gov, Anna.Eskamani@myfloridahouse.gov, Sam.Garrison@myfloridahouse.gov, Michael.Gottlieb@myfloridahouse.gov, Sam.Killebrew@myfloridahouse.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Patt.Maney@myfloridahouse.gov, Stan.McClain@myfloridahouse.gov, Michele.Rayner@myfloridahouse.gov, Alex.Rizo@myfloridahouse.gov, Bob.Rommel@myfloridahouse.gov, Tyler.Sirois@myfloridahouse.gov, Kelly.Skidmore@myfloridahouse.gov, Kaylee.Tuck@myfloridahouse.gov, TFisk@DeafKidsCan.org, email@example.com
E-mail Block (Semicolons for Microsoft Outlook accounts): Will.Robinson@myfloridahouse.gov; JuanF.Barquin@myfloridahouse.gov; Carlos.Smith@myfloridahouse.gov; firstname.lastname@example.org; Kristen.Arrington@myfloridahouse.gov; Anna.Eskamani@myfloridahouse.gov; Sam.Garrison@myfloridahouse.gov; Michael.Gottlieb@myfloridahouse.gov; Sam.Killebrew@myfloridahouse.gov; email@example.com; Patt.Maney@myfloridahouse.gov; Stan.McClain@myfloridahouse.gov; Michele.Rayner@myfloridahouse.gov; Alex.Rizo@myfloridahouse.gov; Bob.Rommel@myfloridahouse.gov; Tyler.Sirois@myfloridahouse.gov; Kelly.Skidmore@myfloridahouse.gov; Kaylee.Tuck@myfloridahouse.gov; TFisk@DeafKidsCan.org; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Please Oppose HB 957
Dear Chairman Robinson and Committee Members,
Re: HB 957
Insert Personalization Here.
It has come to my attention that HB 957 to amend the Florida Audiology Practice Act (Chapter 468 of the REGULATION OF PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS) has been introduced on behalf of a New York For Profit hearing aid distribution company, i.e., Redesign Health parent of Lively Hearing aids. Lively is the distributor for a Danish hearing aid manufacturer, Resound Hearing.
The proposed legislation would permit patients, including children, to waive Audiology evaluations prior to the purchase of hearing aids. Eliminating these requirements would place consumer safety at risk and reduce patient satisfaction with hearing aids.
- Patient satisfaction in the U.S. when the patient is evaluated and then fit by an audiologist with hearing aids is the highest in the world and exceeds 81% of persons purchasing hearing aids. This compares to 39% satisfaction in countries like Japan that do not include the professional evaluation as a part of the fitting process.
- By adding the language “client provides a medical clearance or a waiver of medical examination” prior to every procedure places an undue burden on the consumer. The consumer would have the ability to waive all medical and audiology services prior to purchasing a medical device or they would have to seek an additional medical appointment which increases the expense to the patient and is a barrier to quality hearing care.
- The purpose of the audiology examination is to diagnose, manage, and then develop appropriate treatment plans for the patient which may include the fitting of hearing aids. The inclusion of a waiver is contrary to the best interest of patients with hearing loss. They may have ear disease and/or co-morbidities contributing or causing their ear disease which can be medically or surgically treated.
- Individuals with hearing loss are 3 times more likely to have a fall related injury.
- Risk of dementia is 5 times more likely with individuals with hearing loss.
- Hearing loss is twice as likely with individuals with diabetes.
- Hospitalizations are 32% more likely with older adults who have hearing loss that have not been properly managed and treated.
The Florida Practice Acts, including Chapter 468 of the REGULATION OF PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS passed by the Florida legislature are a safety mechanism for both the general public and professionals. These acts mainly address the rights and obligations that affect and protect patients, including children. Eliminating these requirements would place consumer safety at risk.
I am asking you to oppose HB 957 at the hearing on April 1st. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Add your name and physical address at the end.