- Maryland Establishes New Internet Hearing Aid Sales Regulation
The Maryland Board of Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers, and Speech-Language Pathologists has established new standards for Internet hearing aid sales. The state’s new restrictions stem from the passage
of HB 326 in 2007, which authorized the Board to regulate "the practice of telehealth communications" by hearing aid dispensers. The new regulation, which became effective at the end of October, includes a
requirement that only licensed hearing aid dispensers are allowed to sell hearing aids to Maryland residents via the Internet.
In addition to requiring that all online dispensers be licensed in thesame manner as traditional in-office dispensers, the new regulation enforces mandatory compliance with the Maryland Commercial Law for
hearing aid sales. This means the scope, nature, and quality of services provided through Internet sales must be the same as those provided during in-person sessions—including all refund/cancellation policies and liability/malpractice regulations.
Now, anyone selling a hearing aid online to a Maryland resident must be a graduate of an accredited 2-year post secondary program with a diploma or degree, complete the International Hearing Society Curriculum
titled "Distance Learning for Professionals in Hearing Health Sciences" or an equivalent course approved by the Board, and pass the written, law and practical examinations given by the Board.
- New Jersey Legislature Passes Grace’s Law
The New Jersey Assembly this week passed ‘Grace’s Law,’ just three weeks after the state Senate did the same. The law, a hearing aid insurance mandate for children 15 years and younger, calls for health insurance providers in New Jersey to provide coverage for one hearing aid per ear, once every 2 years, with a cap of $1,000 per aid. The law allows parents to select any hearing aid and pay the difference between $1,000 and the remaining cost of whichever aid they choose.
Passing the Assembly on a 72-3 vote and unanimously in the Senate, the measure now moves to Gov John Corzine’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law. Once enacted, New Jersey will become the thirteenth state to enact some form of a hearing aid insurance mandate—the two most recent being Colorado and Delaware.