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Introduced Version Senate Concurrent Resolution 70 History

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SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 70

(By Senators Stollings, Unger, Plymale and Klempa)

 

 

 

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study strategies for ensuring that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to necessary and appropriate hearing aid devices and accessories.

    Whereas, Hearing loss impacts the most basic of human needs, which is the ability to communicate with other human beings; and

    Whereas, There are currently more than one hundred thousand West Virginians of all ages who suffer from hearing loss, ninety five percent of whom would benefit greatly from the use of hearing aids; and

    Whereas, The cost of one hearing aid ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 and the average cost is $2,500; and

    Whereas, Most people require two hearing aids, resulting in an average cost of $5,000; and

    Whereas, The high cost of hearing aids prohibits many individuals and families from being able to purchase them; and

    Whereas, Inability to afford hearing aids leaves many West Virginians isolated, unable to communicate clearly with their families, experience difficulty with employment and face other problems; and

    Whereas, There exist some programs and resources to assist West Virginians who are unable to afford hearing aids, yet many other individuals and families who are unable to afford hearing aids do not qualify for assistance; and

    Whereas, Most hearing aid assistance plans will assist only families with household income below $40,000 and some require even lower household income levels; and

    Whereas, Several entities in the state serve individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and would serve as excellent resource to the Legislature in examining the needs of these individuals; and

    Whereas, Such entities include, but are not limited to, West Virginia Centers for Independent Living, the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, the West Virginia Board of Hearing Aid Dealer and Fitters, the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, AARP West Virginia, the West Virginia Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the West Virginia Association for the Deaf, the Division of Rehabilitation Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources, the West Virginia Chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association, Lions Clubs and Quota Clubs; and

    Whereas, Citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing will be well served if the Legislature examines the gaps in assistance for individuals requiring hearing aids, reasons for and measures to minimize the gaps, and resources available to alleviate the financial burden of acquiring hearing aids; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study strategies for ensuring that individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to necessary and appropriate hearing aid devices and accessories; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2013, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and

Finance.

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