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VA Directive VHA DIRECTIVE 1170.02 spells out audiology care for veterans. That is, who can get care and what they can get. It seems to stop short of aural rehabilitation and follow up care. Those things are available but apparently veterans must request care beyond being fitted with hearing aids or CIs.
VA is aware of the issue of no captioning on their VVC (Veterans Video Connect) video conferencing platform. They are working on a “fix” at this time. It should be operational soon.
Regarding hearing access at medical facilities I don’t see any internal VA administrative policy. I’m aware that the facilities I visit do have some ALDs (assistive listening devices) available. The trouble is they are not commonly offered by providers. Veterans need to ASK for help. That is something most veterans just don’t do. I see efforts by medical staff to help veterans but are not familiar with the technology available. Audiology does have the technology but often don’t coordinate well with other medical staff. I understand that many staff are now discussing these things at internal meetings. I don’t know anything that is driven by administration but then I’m not is a position to see that if it is happening. Maybe it is.
For example the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis has pocket talkers and even loaner hearing aids available. But getting the veterans in need connected to the devices doesn’t always happen without the veteran making the request.
Personally I always take my remote microphone to my medical appointments and ask the Dr to wear it so I can hear her voice from behind her mask and face shield. The VA has provided the remote microphones. I also keep my smartphone handy to use a speech-to-text app if needed too.
LOOP. I'm not sure but I saw an illustration and it looked to be how to give veterans the " run around".
There isn't Close captions in the Video appointments. Which the DOJ requires.
There is an online portal for veterans to access their medical records called " Blue Dot " You can get about everything except an audiogram from the audiology department. Or anything from audiology for that matter.
In Spite of having a secure message app on their website. Medical personnel seem to insist on calling when they know you are HOH. That works to their benefit and if one uses secure messaging. you can get banned and even put on a " Disruptive Behaviour Veteran" and a flag is placed in your records, So being HOH at the VA is Punished .
I have been banned and am still on the DBL.. Even after they admitted they were wrong to ban me from secure messaging.
I have a meeting Wednesday morning with staff for the Senate Committee on Aging re: VA’s shortfall on compliance with Section 508 of the Rehab Act.
Some of you have significant more experience/knowledge on these issues than I do so I am requesting your input as to some issues you are aware of and perhaps willing to talk about.
I don’t know HLAA’s thoughts but I would like to offer them an opportunity to meet with us next week so they could have a more direct interchange of info with those of you willing to talk with them.
A few issues I plan on bringing up include:
Access to audiology medical exam results (I know some of you have mentioned that and I have had that problem)
Loop - I know nothing about this except how to spell it
I know there has been some chatter on other issues but don’t recall them now.
Did we ever decide on the survey? Maybe we can discuss possible questions from them for a survey.
For this meeting I will speak only for myself and no one else.
Let me know what you think and Carla please let me know HLAA’s position on inviting them and/or working with them to perhaps doing a survey for them.
See you all next week.