Report on the regulatory framework for hearing services

Acronyms and terms used in this report

Review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory framework for hearing services July 2012. The Report was prepared for the Office of Hearing Services by MP Consulting

Page last updated: 28 November 2012

For the purposes of this report, the words and terms detailed below have the following meanings:

clients – In hearing services scheme documents, the clients of the scheme are variously referred to as: voucher holders, participants in the voucher system and clients. For the purposes of this report, they are referred to as clients.

contracts – This word is used to refer collectively to the service provider contract and the Deed of Standing Offer with device manufacturers.

Deed – This refers to the Deed of Standing Offer between the Australian Government and hearing device suppliers.

HCIA - The Hearing Care Industry Association (HCIA) represents hearing healthcare retailers including AudioClinic, Bay Audio, Connect Hearing, HearingLife Australia, National Hearing Care, The Neurosensory Unit and Widex Australia.

hearing services scheme (the scheme) – The hearing services scheme is sometimes referred to as the voucher program or the hearing services program. For the purposes of this report, the term ‘hearing services scheme’ is used to describe the entire system which enables the delivery of hearing services (including the legislative and contractual framework and the administrative practice).

legislation – This refers to primary legislation (Acts) and also delegated legislation. In this case, delegated legislation includes a ‘scheme’, ‘rules’ and ‘determinations’.

OHS – Office of Hearing Services. In general, OHS is used to describe the organisation responsible for administering the scheme on behalf of the Australian Government.

regulation - The Office of Best Practice Regulation within the Department of Finance and Deregulation defines regulation to be “the broad range of legally enforceable instruments which impose mandatory requirements upon businesses or individuals” and “government voluntary codes and advisory instruments for which there is a reasonable expectation of compliance”. Consistent with this definition, the term ‘regulation’ is used in this report to describe all of the instruments which impose requirements on industry including legislation, contracts and guidelines which are expected to be complied with.

service provider – The providers of hearing services are referred to in different documents as: contracted service providers, accredited service providers and accredited providers. In this report, service provider refers to an accredited and contracted provider of hearing services through the scheme.

service provider contract – This refers to the agreement between the Commonwealth and accredited service providers for the delivery of hearing services.

top-up’ - The hearing scheme provides clients with a hearing aid that provides a satisfactory rehabilitation outcome. However, the scheme also allows for ‘top-up’ arrangements where clients can choose to be fitted with a hearing aid with additional features beyond those necessary to achieve a satisfactory rehabilitation outcome. Under the ‘top-up’ arrangements the client pays the difference in cost to the service provider.