Date published: 
13 August 2020
Type: 
News
Intended audience: 
General public
Young girl having a hearing test

A review of the Hearing Services Program has commenced.

An Expert Panel, led by Professor Mike Woods, and panellist Dr Zena Burgess PhD, will review the program and identify possible reforms to ensure that the program remains client-focused while modernising key components in the context of policy, markets and technological developments.

With an ageing population and an increasing demand for hearing services, the social and economic costs of hearing loss in Australia are significant. The Panel will review the Program, which has been in place since 1997.

The Hearing Services Program Review will focus on:

  • whether the program delivers services aligned with clinical need and contemporary service delivery
  • how the Voucher and device maintenance payment system compares with advances in the manufacturing sector and product offering
  • how technology is changing the provision of services through the program
  • how program services are currently delivered and whether access can be enhanced for vulnerable Australians and in thin markets, such as regional, rural and remote areas.

This aligns with the Government’s broader agenda to reform rural health.

“I am pleased to be appointed to lead this Review, and to be working with Dr Burgess,” says Professor Woods. “Access to quality hearing health services for Australians who are hard of hearing is vital. Reviewing the Hearing Services Program offers a valuable opportunity to modernise and deliver a program that is more client-outcome focused and supported by a strong evidence base.”

Through her experience living and working in regional Victoria, Dr Burgess understands the challenges for remote patients. She is particularly interested in empowering patients to determine their own health outcomes.

“I have a strong interest in health reform and consumer health outcomes, particularly around hearing,” says Dr Burgess. “This Review provides a valuable opportunity to deliver a hearing health program that is accessible, fair and equitable.”

The Panel will be in place from July 2020 to June 2021 and provide a final report to Government in July 2021.

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