My client needs his aid repaired! An update on the Ontario WSIB changes to the Program of Care – Noise Induced Hearing Loss (POC-NIHL)
Our client was in two days ago with his hearing aid that is in need of repair. Unfortunately, he will have to wait until we can sort out who can actually do the repair. As of January 9, 2017, WSIB has chosen to sign provider agreements with only 3 of the 9 or 10 manufacturers that they have signed agreements with since 2004. Under this new arrangement, repair of aids not manufactured by one of the 3 signed manufacturers has become a confusing situation. The four immediate questions seem to be:
1. Will the original manufacturer be allowed to repair the product? They no longer have an agreement with WSIB, so I don’t know if they are allowed to receive, handle and repair products purchased by WSIB for injured workers with NIHL;
2. Will the 3 signed manufacturers provide repairs for all WSIB purchased hearing aids? To me, this doesn’t seem to be an option. Each manufacturer has unique technology, some of which is patented, unique programming software, and parts that fit only their hearing aids. It would be a surprise if the unsigned manufacturers agree to provide their intellectual and material property to the 3 signed manufacturers;
3. Will the Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Practitioners be willing to send an aid to the original manufacturer for repair? We are only paid when we follow the WSIB pricing grid for billing, but as of January 9, 2017, there are no grids for the non-signed manufacturers. We have been told by WSIB that the original manufacturers of the products should do the repair, and even though they no longer have an agreement with WSIB, they should only bill us the discounted price agreed to by the signed manufacturers. We should then bill that amount to WSIB, and we will be paid. We have also been told that invoices will only be accepted from us if the work was done by a manufacturer with a current WSIB agreement. I’m sure you can see our dilemma.
4. Will the service providers choose instead to send the aids to one of the 3 approved manufacturers, even though they are not the original manufacturer of the product? Will the receiving manufacturer agree to repair the aids, even though they probably don’t have the original manufacturer’s software, parts, or working knowledge of the aids? Lastly, will we receive the aid back functioning in it’s originally manufactured condition?
About the Author:
Nancy Zantinge founded Owen Sound Audiology Clinic in 1996 to promote quality of life through awareness of hearing conservation, and audiological assessments and rehabilitation. Her terrific team of registered audiologists and support staff continues to meet the unique communication needs of each client and their family. She is always on the watch for new talent and suggestions for new and innovative services.