Australian Government - Department of Health - Office of Hearing Services
Hearing Services Program

Provider Factsheet - Government Announcement of Changes to the Hearing Services Program

In the October 2020 Budget, the Government announced a number of changes to the framework of the Hearing Services Program (the program) which will be effective 1 July 2021. Changes are in three key areas:

  • Client Vouchers will be extended to five years
  • The Government is making changes around the timing and payments for maintenance services
  • Program clients who are not fitted with a device will now be eligible for an annual review

Extension of Voucher Period

From 1 July 2021, the program will move from a three year client Voucher to a five year Voucher. This means the existing Vouchers for all clients will be extended by two years. All new Vouchers issued will be current for five years. This change has been made to align the Voucher period to the expected lifespan of a hearing aid.

Changes to Maintenance Payments

Payment of Maintenance during the Warranty Period

It is a requirement under clause 6.1 of the Deed of Standing Offer between the program and appointed suppliers that all devices be covered by a minimum 12 month warranty. The Government will therefore no longer pay for hearing device maintenance and repairs during the minimum warranty period of 12 months. The client payment for maintenance will continue to apply during this time.

Consolidation of Maintenance Claim Items and Move to Quarterly Payments

The claiming items for hearing device maintenance and repairs will be consolidated into two items:

  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Relocated Maintenance and repairs

Further, maintenance and repair payments will change from being paid annually in advance to being paid quarterly in advance per device. Current arrangements for client contributions to maintenance – including those made by DVA – will remain in place.

Changes to Monaural Maintenance Payment

The government fee for maintenance and repairs will now be paid per device. This will simplify device maintenance payment arrangements, and more adequately reflect the cost of maintaining devices for monaural clients.

Client Reviews for All Clients

Currently only clients who are fitted with a hearing device are entitled to an annual review – which includes a check of their hearing. Clients who are not fitted with a hearing device will now also be entitled to an annual review. This will allow their hearing to be monitored over time and improve the access to services for these clients.

Renewal of the Hearing Services Program

These changes are one part of the renewal of the program which also incorporates the Review of the program, as well as the initiatives funded through the Roadmap for Hearing Health. Renewing the program will ensure that Australians who are hard of hearing will benefit from alignment with contemporary service delivery, professional clinical standards, new technologies and strengthened access in regional, rural and remote areas. This work will deliver a modern program that is supported by increased awareness of hearing loss and investment in the hearing workforce.

These adjustments will require changes to the HSO Portal and the program will work with providers to embed them prior to 1 July 2021.

If you wish to subscribe to updates regarding the Review of the program, please email hearing-review@health.gov.au.

 

Government Announcement of Changes to the Program (PDF 152 KB)

Government Announcement of Changes to the Hearing Services Program

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