As reported in a recent release by "The Hearing Review", the International Hearing Society, (IHS) American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) have all written to Healthinnovations CEO Lisa Tseng, MD, expressing just how irregular her earlier announcement had made all of them.
Seems as though the good Doctor has poked a real hornets' nest here, as IHS has even had their attorney write a "cease and desist" letter and all are threatening all sorts of mean and nasty further actions if this Health Insurance Giant intends to demonstrate their interpretations of the golden rule.
Given revenues exceeding eleven billion annually and being the nation's largest health insurance company, you simply can't believe that these folks made this decision in a legal vacuum. Nope, given that their decision violates the current hearing aid dispensing laws in about all fifty states, you can bet that they've done their legal homework.
This is all about that corporate golden rule, "Those with the gold, make the rules."
In a historical aside, relevant to United Health's actions;
The last time there was such a direct challenge in the state of Florida, was back over Crystal Ears showing up on end caps in drug stores.
The licensees of this state raised about the same ruckus you are hearing now, and given that each sale constituted a felony, based on our practice statutes, these licensees thought for sure that relief would come from their board.
Yet a visit from the Retail Merchant's Association, with a copy of draft legislation abolishing the Board of Hearing Aid Specialists and deregulating the sale of hearing aids in the State of Florida, caused all the Board members but one, to defaecate upon themselves instantly, whereby they immediately dropped all enforcement action, if the RMA would only please not introduce anything that might possibly jeopardize their gatekeeper status and upset the apple cart, however wobbly it might be.
The only Board of Hearing Aid Specialist board member to object, or to display any courage or integrity in the matter, arguing that there was little point in laws if, they weren't going to enforced, or worse yet, selectively enforced, was Mr. Denny Dingler, ACA who resigned in disgust over the whole matter.
For the complete "Hearing Review Insider" story about just how mad these professional associations are at the prospect of anyone challenging the current delivery system, just click the link.
However, no matter how you slice this, between the FDAs establishment in 2009 of Personal Sound Amplification Products as a totally unregulated product classification and the natural evolution of ear level gear of all kinds connecting us to all sorts of devices, I don't think this issue is going away.
Nor, was there any indication of United Health Group backing off on their plans.
Check back for further developments.