January 15, 2019 – The Telecoil-Bluetooth Consumer Education (HB 1078) has been introduced for the Washington State 2019-20 legislative session. It’s now with the Health Care & Wellness Committee. This cost-neutral bill will require hearing health professionals to educate consumers about telecoils and Bluetooth technologies.
The companion Senate Bill 5210 contains similar language and intent.
We enthusiastically encourage you to support these bills. You can download and share our flyer. If you need a version for people with low vision, you can use this version.
January 29, 2018 – Let the House Appropriations Committee know you support SB 5179, which will include hearing aids for public employees and adults on Medicaid. Feel free to send and refer to our flyer in your talking points or email.
January 23, 2018 – Support telecoil education via House Bill 2856!
Too many people with hearing aids are unaware of the telecoil, or they don’t know how or where to use it. HB 2856 requires audiologists to inform patients about telecoils. Submit your public comment here, and share how your telecoils connect you with hearing loops and other public assistive listening systems.
July 6, 2017 – Support access to affordable over-the-counter hearing aids (Senate bill S. 670; House bill H.R. 1652). The HLAA-WA board and HLAA national support these efforts to get more hearing aids into the ears of people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
We hope this bill will increase innovation in the hearing aid industry, reduce the stigma of wearing hearing aids, and lower hearing aid prices.
For more information, Shari Eberts has an excellent discussion here, and HLAA national has more information and sample emails of support you can send to your senator or representative.
April 11, 2017 – Senate Bill 5177, which requires long-term care workers to be trained to recognize hearing loss, passed the House unanimously!
March 31, 2017 – Contact your legislator to include funding for Senate Bill 5179 in the final budget.
March 6, 2017 – Senate Bill 5179 (adult hearing aid coverage under Medicaid and public employee benefits) has passed the Washington State Senate. Check back for more ways you can help this bill keep moving, including establishing funding.
February 21, 2017 – Post your support on legislators’ FB pages by Friday, February 24, 2017 to support HB 1264 and SB 5179. They need to be moved out of committee.
House Appropriation Committee Members: post to them to support HB 1264 to cover adult hearing aids under Medicaid.
Senate Ways & Means Committee Members: post to them to support SB 5179 for Medicaid and public employee coverage of hearing aids.
February 16, 2017 – HB 1264 to cover adult hearing aids under Medicaid is now in the Appropriations Committee. It may die due to cost concerns, so write to the Appropriations Committee today and express your desire for health equity for people with hearing loss.
To contact your own senator: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder.
Here is the message to send:
“SB 5179, requiring coverage for hearing instruments under public employee and Medicaid programs, has been referred to the Rules Committee. This bill would provide hearing assistance coverage for adults on Medicaid. This coverage is essential for those who need hearing aids in order for them to be able to communicate, work and function effectively. Providing hearing aids and hearing technology can save by avoiding future costs of illness, unemployment or dementia. Please contact Rules Committee members and ask them to pass it out of Rules to the Senate floor for action. Thank you!
**Letter to House Health Care & Wellness Committee Members:
Dear Rep. XXX (fill in name):
HB 1264 would provide hearing assistance coverage for adults on Medicaid. This coverage is essential for those who need hearing aids in order for them to be able to communicate, work and function effectively. Providing hearing aids and cochlear implants can save by avoiding future costs of illness, unemployment or dementia. I urge you to pass HB 1264 out of the Health Care & Wellness Committee before the cut-off date on February 17, so that this bill will stay alive. Thank you!
House Health Care & Wellness Committee
Eileen Cody, Chair
January 17, 2017 – Join us in supporting the Let Washington State Hear Campaign.
Two public hearings are coming up for four separate hearing loss support bills. We encourage you to join us in Olympia. Speak publicly or simply sign-in onsite in support of the bill.
Email us for more information: email@example.com or to let us know you’re coming.
Wednesday, January 25, 1:30 pm
House of Representatives Committee on Health Care and Wellness, House Hearing Rm A, John L. O’Brien Building
*House Bill 1264: Medicaid coverage hearing aids purchase, re-fitting, and repair.
Thursday, January 26, 10:00 a.m.
Senate Committee on Health Care, Senate Hearing Rm 2, J.A. Cherberg Building. Three bills will be heard:
*SB 5179 – Covers hearing aids for public employee plans and Medicaid.
*SB 5177 – Requires hearing loss recognition training for LTC workers.
*SB 5178 –Requires the Department of Health to develop a hearing loss education program for health care professionals.
If you can’t make the hearings, you can still help.
Read and send your legislator a copy of open letter of support and our Restore Medicaid Fact Sheet. Encourage lawmakers to support this move toward health equity, fairness, rights for people with disabilities, and an inclusive Washington.
Find your State lawmaker at: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/.
Write in and support these bills, or click through and offer public comments via their web portal. It’s easy, we promise.
- House Bill 1264 – Covers hearing aid purchase, pre-fitting, and repair of hearing aids for adults under Medicaid.
- Senate Bill 5179 – Covers hearing aids for public employee plans and Medicaid.
- Senate Bill 5177 – Requires hearing loss recognition training for LTC workers.
- Senate Bill 5178 –Requires the Department of Health to develop a hearing loss education program for health care professionals.
Remember, when you advocate for yourself, you automatically advocate for others as well.
Build a Loop Movement in Your Area
Watch our slideshow we created for our talk at the HLAA 2015 Convention. We explain how we created Let’s Loop Seattle, how we overcame our barriers, and how we developed, expanded, and made our vision happen. Loops happen in areas where people like YOU make it so.
Telecoil Consumer Protection
Many people who wear hearing aids aren’t told whether their aid has a telecoil. Sometimes telecoils aren’t activated in their aids. And many people aren’t told how to use their hearing aids to connect to a hearing loop and gain communication access to hundreds of looped public venues.
We call upon Washington State to join five other states and enact consumer protection legislation that would require audiologists to inform, educate, and demonstrate telecoil features to consumers.
Download our Telecoil Consumer Protection Fact Sheet to learn more. And watch for more details on how you can help.
Medicare Hearing Bills
Send an e-mail, phone call, or letter of support for HR 2748, the HEAR bill (reintroduced in June 2015 by Rep. Matt Cartwright). This bill will ensure Medicare coverage for hearing aids and hearing care. For a sample letter, see the HLAA’s national advocacy page.
Check to determine your current U.S. representative.
Private Insurance Coverage of Hearing Aids
You can sign moveon.org’s petition requesting that private insurance pay for hearing aids.
The Egyptian Theatre, Seattle
The Seattle International Film Festival recently took over operations at Seattle’s classic Egyptian Theatre on Capitol Hill. Encourage them to consider loops as part of their renovation plans. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to do something else to get loops and access in your community? Contact us via our contact page with ideas or questions. We’re here to help.