WCB introduces new fee structure for hearing health professionals and change to battery process for workers (Jan 17/17)

WCB Nova Scotia has introduced changes to how they work with hearing health professionals in Nova Scotia, including a new process for workers to receive hearing aid batteries.

The changes include a new process and fee schedule for hearing health clinics to follow, negotiating access to quality hearing aids directly with manufacturers, and introducing a new way for workers to receive batteries for their hearing aids.

Hearing loss due to workplace noise is one of the most common long-term workplace injuries in Nova Scotia. The changes provide greater clarity about the services covered by WCB Nova Scotia to help ensure a consistent level of service for all workers with hearing loss.

Summary of changes

Workers – Change to battery distribution process

  • This change affects workers with accepted claims for hearing loss.

  • Starting in 2017, the steps to receive batteries for hearing aids will change. Batteries for WCB approved hearing aids can be picked up directly from an approved hearing clinic, as part of the regular annual preventative maintenance visit for the hearing aid. This change means workers receive their batteries directly, as part of their regular checkup, instead of having to buy them directly. This process will replace the annual cash allowance for purchasing batteries typically provided in June of each year.

  • Learn more information on work related hearing loss and WCB Nova Scotia.

  • Check out the healthcare service provider directory to find an approved clinic near you.

How to receive batteries for your hearing aids:

If you require batteries for your WCB-approved hearing aid, call a WCB approved hearing clinic near you to bookan annual maintenance visit for your hearing aid. As partof this visit, you will receive your annual supply of batteries for your hearing aid(s).WCB will cover the costs directly with clinics. You will not pay out-of-pocket for either of these services.

After you go to your appointment, complete the WCB travel expense form and return it to WCB Nova Scotia to be reimbursed for your travel
expenses to and from your preventative maintenance appointment for your hearing aid. Expense formscan be found here.

Hearing Health Professionals

  • WCB Nova Scotia covers the costs for hearing aids and associated hearing services for workers with accepted work-related hearing-loss claims. In the past, WCB paid a flat fee for hearing aids and fitting fees, and reimbursed for other services as invoiced by the clinic.

  • Starting January 1, 2017, there is now a revised fee structure for clinics to follow when providing hearing services to workers, including an approved list of quality hearing aids to select from a variety of manufacturers. In addition, clinics can provide hearing aid batteries to workers as part of the regular preventative maintenance appointment for aids. These adjustments do not change the types of services workers receive, but the way in which clinics invoice and seek approvals for services. Our Hearing Health Services Guide outlines the changes to our fee structure and process.

  • Hearing health professionals have been asking us for years to revisit our current structure. A review of other WCB jurisdictions also identified best-in-class approaches for working with service providers to support workers requiring hearing health services. The changes include input from a working group of audiologists and hearing health instrument practitioners in Nova Scotia.

  • The changes provide greater clarity about the services covered by WCB Nova Scotia to help ensure a consistent level of service for all workers with hearing loss.

  • Learn more here.