Jefferson City, MO (July 11, 2019) – This afternoon, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 101 into law. This measure will allow the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) to begin establishing a statewide hearing aid distribution program for low-income Missourians. Senate Bill 101 was Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed by the Missouri legislature on May 14, 2019.
The law also created a dedicated Statewide Hearing Aid Distribution Fund. The corresponding program would allow individuals with hearing loss whose household income is at or below the federal poverty level to obtain hearing aids. On average, a pair of hearing aids cost $2,500 and needs to be replaced every few years.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the bill’s sponsor Senator Jeanie Riddle expressed gratitude to Governor Parson. “I am thankful for the governor’s action on Senate Bill 101. This is an important piece of legislation that has the potential to help countless Missourians who suffer from a loss of hearing. The cost of a hearing aid should never stand in the way of someone being able to live, work and raise their family.”
Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa, Executive Director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, shared a similar sentiment: “I thank Governor Parson for his action on this bill, as well as Senator Jeanie Riddle and Representative Ann Kelley for their leadership on this issue.” Dr. Sotonwa went on to explain how he envisions the legislation will impact Missouri. “Workforce development is an important cornerstone of Governor Parson’s agenda. He is committed to making Missouri a model state for employing people with disabilities. Making hearing aids accessible to low-income Missourians is critical to keeping them employable.”
The structure and scope of the statewide hearing aid distribution program will depend on how much funding MCDHH receives from legislative appropriations as well as outside funding sources. For more information about this program, contact MCDHH by calling 573-526-5205 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MCDHH works with individuals, service providers, businesses, organizations, and state agencies to improve the lives and opportunities of all Missourians with hearing loss. It functions as an agency of the state to advocate for public policies, regulations, and programs to improve the quality and coordination of existing services for individuals with hearing loss, and to promote new services whenever necessary. More information about MCDHH and the services it offers are available at http://mcdhh.mo.gov.