Problem with VA Audiology Department

#1

My brother, in another state, having problems at his VA Hospital Audiology Dept.

I had hearing test with the VA, was asked which aids I preferred, they were ordered with custom molds (impressions taken same day as test) and 10 days later received my Oticon OPN1 miniRITEs.

My brother waited 2 months for his aids after his test. He had indicated he wanted “in the canal” not behind the ear.

At his fitting appointment he was given a pair of Starkey, behind the ear aids and when questioned about in the canal aids the audiologist said “well, try these.”

My brother rides a motorcycle almost every day and cannot wear the Starkeys as he cannot get the helmet on when wearing them.

So today, at his appointment, he was told he cannot exchange them, they were made for him, they cost 7,000 and no one else can use them, and they will just keep adjusting them for him, nothing else. They insisted they would do nothing else.

I called my VA audiology dept and was told, basically, no way. They looked him up on the VA data base and said his TRIAL PERIOD is up 7/23/19 and he can (should be able to) exchange them for a different make/model/etc. any time before then. His VA audiology rep. knew nothing about a “trial period.” My VA rep said he can come here (300 miles away) and they would take care of him.

I know there are several members here using the VA for their aids. Has anyone every heard of a policy like this in the VA system?

My question is: Is there anyone in the VA system he can contact to get this sorted out? He is in his mid 80’s (yes, still rides a Harley Trike) and needs help.

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#2

I have a question, did he,get,them from a VA clinic or a contractor that the VA uses in some states. I have never heard of such a thing like hairs issue, I always get custom hearing aids and I have always been told I have a certain time to return them, it seems to depend on the manufacturer on that time period. And I have never refused the type or brand of hearing aids I wanted.

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#3

Thanks cvkemp. Yes, it was the VA hospital closest to where he lives. The VA doesn’t use contractors in their hospitals do they? I am not that familiar with VA facilities but just assume all VA Hospitals use VA government employees like they do in the Syracuse VA hospital I go to. I will have to ask him to check into that at the facility/VA hospital he went to.

cvkemp: Actually I was trying to get him to ask for the Oticon aids that you have. It seems they pushed the Starky’s on him. I have been following your threads all along.

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#4

I use the Durham NC VA and have had no problems at all. They are very accommodating. When I picked up my Oticon 1 MiniRITE’s with domes I was given basically a contract telling me my trial period ended on so and so date. After about a month I decided I wanted to try the ITC HS. They gladly took them back and made impressions on the spot and ordered them for me. The only problem is because they were still on the trial period they were required to return them for credit with the new order. So I’ve been without any aids for about 30 days now. Pick my new ones up this coming Monday. Looking forward to that immensely. I’m hoping I will get another trial period for the new ones as an insurance policy in case I can’t stand the ITC HS’s. Your brother should be able to go into his online VA account and read any notes the audiologist has made. But, there is a time to be firm and I would think it has arrived. He shouldn’t have to go 300 miles out of his way to get what he is entitled to. Sometimes you have to be your own advocate.

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#5

The aids pushed is very depend on the Audis at the clinic. More than like the Audi he has is mostly trained on the Starky aids.
When I moved to Arkansas and the Audiology clinic opened here I was afraid I would be asked to take a different brand hearing aid, but was very lucky in that my Audi use to work for an Oticon only clinic before taking the job with the VA.
And no I do not believe that the VA hosiptals or contractors but I guess it is possible that contractors work within the VA hosiptals.

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#6

lgbuck62: Another difficulty with him (brother) is he does not use a computer and does not go online at all. No smart phone. I was hoping there was a VA advocate of sorts within this forum who might be able to intercede somehow.

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#7

He needs to call the offices of his US Congressmen… all of them. His US Representative and both US Senators. Give them names, phone numbers, and dates (especially the date his trial ends). Call all of their offices, one right after the other. There’s no time to lose.

As soon as that VA facility gets a call from one congress critter’s office, requesting an explanation, they’ll get on the ball and his problem will be fixed.

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#8

Custom made or not, Starkey has a 90 day return privilege on instruments. The audiologist is either lazy or ignorant. Your brother should be able to get what he wants, as long as it is an appropriate fit.

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#9

Certainly not reflective of my experience. My VA audi was very disappointed I turned mine back in, she didn’t give me any grief about it.

Sounds like his audi is either lazy or on Starkey’s payroll.

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#10

I both work for the VA (in Denver), and am a veteran and receive my hearing aids through them. Your brother should go see the Patient Representative at the VAMC where he gets taken care of, and let them know of this issue–it’s BS that it happened. You DO get a warranty or trial period with the hearing aids they give you–it can be up to six months, but is at least several months, and the period would be noted in his records (if he’s not using MyHealth.VA.GOV, he should enroll, get the full account type, and not only can he view his records online (unfortunately, at this time, NOT the actual Audiology Exam results, but, any of the other notes), he can also order replacement batteries to be shipped to him. I’ve tried aids more than once, and had to substitute one for another when they didn’t work out for me–with never an issue. You may sometimes have to be able to explain issues to the audi, so a little technical knowledge won’t hurt, but…I’ve never had a problem, nor have I heard of anyone having a problem. Good luck to you guys!!

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#11

Thanks all for the information I will tell him about the VAMC. He has not yet talked with the Director of the/his Audiology Department. He has left a message for his State Rep who lives close to him although I don’t believe he can help as it’s not a State matter. I just can’t think of a good reason that he was told this by the audi especially when my VA Audi Dept saw his info on the VA data base and the trial date listed.

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#12

Without internet, which it sounds like is your brothers case, the best bet is to go back to the hospital and see the “Patient Advocate”. Every VA hospital has one and they are very helpful. I wouldn’t be getting my VA benefits today without having went to them. If he is still in a trial period, time is not your friend. I fully believe the Patient Advocate can either rectify this or shed light on why it is like they say, if so.

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#13

I gave him the patient advocate’s name and phone number yesterday (found it on the net for that VA hospital.) Could not reach him so will try Monday.

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#14

I was issued the same hearing aids. They are great for TV nothing around you neck goes.straight to hearing aids. These hearing are dual microphone. In order for me.to use them I had to set them on -3. very sensitive. Also the phone app is fantastic. They were very difficult in hearing and.everyone was complaining that I couldn’t hear them. In the car the radio was very tinny hardly any bass. Radio Sounds was like the song Winchester cathedral or better yet Rudy Valley singing through a megaphone
The VA AUDIOLOGIST at the Brooklyn VA was aware of my frustration and ordered me new hearing aids. You need to address it a soon as possible and don’t take no for an answer.

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#15

Sounds like the VA. I trialed a pair of Opn1 at a private audi and didn’t like them. I figured I’d try the VA…I hadn’t gotten HAs from them since 92. Well when they came in at the VA Opn1. I specifically told the audi I didn’t care for the Opn 1. Go figure. When I get a chance I’m going to my local congressional office. Kind of typical at the ABQ, NM VA.

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#16

Are you saying you didn’t get a new trial period at the VA? I just received my new OPN 1 ITC HS’s on Monday with no problems after trialing the OPN 1 for six weeks. Got a new trial period that doesn’t end until 12/19 now. Have no problem taking these back if I decide they are not for me. They are HUGE compared to the ITE domes so hopefully I will get used to them. I’m also not a fan of the wet feeling in my ear when I take them out.

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#17

I depends on your aids but the trial period can be up to 6 months.

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#18

When I was a Starkey Rep, I had three VA hospitals as part of my territory. You could never get in to see the Audiologists. They just didn’t have the time to spend learning the new software or the latest product.

A busy day for someone like me, I might see 12 or 15 people. VA clinics usually have at least three Audiologists on staff, and every one of them will see 25 people a day, sometimes more.

I am sure most of them are good people, and good at their jobs, they are just expected to do too much, and therefore, the level of care suffers for everyone.

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#19

It all depends on the VA clinic and where the Clinic is. I have used clinics in two different states. And have even been able to walk in and get minor adjustments and issues taken care of. And I have been to clinics it tool 3 months to get an appointment. I personally will drive out of my way to get my aids taken care of as soon as possible.

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#20

Well today my brother has appointment with another VA hospital. The advocate at the original VA hospital was no help at all. He visited this new VA hospital last week and they happily transferred all his paperwork from the other VA hospital and made his appointment for today. I’m waiting to hear how he does.

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