What happened today?
SB 700 was heard in the Senate Health Policy committee meeting. The first step was to review the amendments that had been added to SB 700. Senator Bean provided an amendment to amendment 302884 (the one regarding our statutes) by adding language to protect children. The amendment to amendment 302884 was adopted (it passed). Then SB 700 passed. This means the new language on amendment 302884 is what will move forward to the next committee hearing. The next stop is the “Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services (AHS).” A hearing date has not been set yet.
Where do we stand?
We are continuing to work on the language as the current amended language is a place holder. It is a victory to get a place holder as it gives us time to further amend it. We expect to see it amended again at the next bill hearing.
What to do next?
- Email any questions or comments to Julia Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you choose to write your Senators during this time, please write a positive message about looking forward to continuing change of the amendment to better protect ALL Floridians with hearing loss and be thankful toward Senator Bean for his efforts to protect our children. Also, the focus of any correspondence should be about the amendment and not about the overall bill.
- Sign up to “track this bill” at https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/700 if you would like to follow it through the various stages.
We will continue to share legislative alerts as the amendment evolves. Please know that FLAA and its lobbyist are working hard to create a united front and the best strategy possible is being pursued for the protection of Florida’s hearing impaired and for Florida’s licensed hearing care providers.
Post this blog and date it 2/16: Legislative Alert – Lively Legislation Update!
We want to call your attention to legislative activities currently ongoing in Florida and may also be happening in other states. Redesign Health is the parent company of Listen Lively. They are well funded and connected legislatively including support from the Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, who have agreed to lobby for the proposed legislation.
Last Friday, they introduced legislation in Florida (House: HB 957; Senate: S700 Amendment 302884) essentially eliminating the necessity for patients seeking hearing aids to have an audiology evaluation.
Patients would have the right to forego all audiology evaluations by providing “a medical clearance or a waiver of medical examination” prior to purchasing amplification. The legislation has been fast-tracked and attached to a major piece of Legislation on Telehealth that is scheduled to be heard in committee tomorrow.
The basis of this legislation seems to be to eliminate the need for all evaluations prior to purchasing amplification and opens the door to direct to consumer sales. They are calling this “An Act Relating to Hearing Aid Consultations and Sales” and it amends our Practice Act/License Law.
We expressed our disappointment to Paul Martin, Harvey Abrams, and Jay Hall that they did not notify or make any effort to reach out to the audiology community in Florida to have an open discussion about amending our license laws without any input for the Audiology community.
Fortunately, we have a good lobbyist who noticed the proposed legislation after it was introduced last Friday.
Here’s what you need to do:
Send email or call legislators on the committee today. The meeting is tomorrow. The list and contact information are below.
Talking points are enclosed in the document enclosed: CLICK HERE TO VIEW TALKING POINTS
Thank you very much to all those who took action to make the audiologist’s voice heard and protect our patients! Each voice matters, and we will need them again throughout this process.