This bill, after being filed by Representative Garballey, began its journey in the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities with Representative Khan and Senator Rodriques as Co-Chairs of the Committee and moved to the Joint Committee on Health Care and Finance chaired by Representative Walsh.
Brief comments were made by Lisa Adams (MassHAFCC President), Michelle Motta Dardeno and Kim LaBrecque (MassHAFCC Board Members) and Dr. Marilyn Neault (Director of Habilitative Audiology at Boston Children's Hospital) following congratulations by Governor Patrick. Many children, families and professionals from across the state were thanked for testifying in person, submitting written testimony and making many phones in support of passing this bill.
Of note, Lisa shared that "...the impact of this law is already being felt across our state in hospitals and audiology offices-- it has instantly changed the initial discussion between practitioners diagnosing hearing loss and families hearing the diagnosis for the first time. This is big news for our children: we can diagnose hearing loss early and ensure access to sound, speech and language early too."
Dr. Neault introduced a mother and her 4 month old daughter who was recently diagnosed with hearing loss through the Newborn Hearing Screening program. Mom explained that she was "completely overwhelmed" when she found out how much hearing aids cost. Everyone in the room echoed her sentiment and tears as she stated "I can't thank you enough" over again. This new law will remove the financial burden for this family and all families across the Commonwealth.
Massachusetts became the 20th state to pass legislation mandating insurance coverage for pediatric hearing aids in the United States when the bill passed unanimously through the House and Senate and officially signed into law on August 7th, 2012.
The full 24 minute recording of the ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEXq_yJkoNU.