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Yesterday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) passed a bill, S. 785, the “Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019,” that included language to continue forward movement on Fit to Serve.
IHS has been working diligently with our congressional champions to press the Department of Veterans Affairs to follow through on its 2016 congressional directive (PL 114-256, Sec. 4) to add hearing aid specialists to the VA staff team. To date, the VA has been unwilling to move forward on hiring hearing aid specialists.
S. 785 would require VA to do the following:
The bill will now go to the full Senate for a vote. If passed, it will then be transferred to the House for consideration.
This bipartisan bill was introduced by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT), who serve as Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair and Ranking Member, respectively. Both have championed hearing aid specialist use by the VA over the past several years and led the passage of PL 114-256 in the Senate. Forty-three (43) additional Senators have co-sponsored S. 785.
We thank those of you who have contacted your members of Congress and the VA, and have contributed financially to support our work. With your help, we are getting closer to our goal of enabling hearing aid specialists to assist veterans as VA providers both in the community and at VA facilities.