97-S 0521A am
Approved Jul. 3, 1997



It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows

SECTION 1. Sections 5-49-3 and 5-49-12 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-49 entitled "Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters" are hereby amended to read as follows:

5-49-3. Receipt required to be furnished to a person supplied with hearing aid. -- (a) Any person who practices the fitting and sale of hearing aids shall deliver to each person supplied with a hearing aid a receipt which shall contain the licensee's signature and show his or her business address and the number of his or her certificate, together with specifications as to the make and model of the hearing aid furnished, full terms of sale clearly stated. If an aid which is not new is sold, the receipt and the container thereof shall be clearly marked as "used" or "reconditioned" whichever is applicable, with terms of guarantee, if any.

(b) The receipt shall bear in no smaller type than the largest used in the body copy portion the following: The purchaser has been advised at the outset of his or her relationship with the hearing aid dealer that any examination(s) or representation(s) made by a licensed hearing aid dealer and fitter in connection with the fitting and selling of this hearing aid(s) is not an examination, diagnosis, or prescription by a person licensed to practice medicine in this state and therefore must not be regarded as medical opinion or advice.

(c) The receipt, covering agreements consummated at any place other than at an address of the seller, shall contain the following statement, "You may cancel this agreement if it has been consummated by a party hereto at any place other than at a business address of the seller by a written notice directed to a business address of the seller by registered mail, telegram, or delivery, not later than midnight of the third business day following the signing of the agreement."

(d) Any person engaging in the fitting and sale of hearing aids will, when dealing with a child ten (10) years of age or under, ascertain whether the child has been examined by an otolaryngologist{ADD , or primary care physician ADD} and an audiologist for his or her recommendation within ninety (90) days prior to the fitting. If that not be the case, a recommendation to do so must be made and such an examination must be conducted before the sale of any hearing aid.

{ADD (e) Prior to delivery of services or products to the prospective purchaser, a licensee shall provide discussion of amplification or aural rehabilitation options appropriate to the hearing loss and communication needs presented by the patient.

(f) Shall deliver information, either written or oral, appropriate to the patient's needs and options under discussion, including, but not limited to, types of circuitry, telecoils, or programmability.

(g) At the time of delivery of selected amplification, the dispenser shall deliver a written delivery receipt containing the following:

(i) Business name, full address, and Dept. of Health license number of the dispenser;

(ii) Name, full address of patient and purchaser;

(iii) The instrument identification including manufacturer, model, serial number;

(iv) Identification of used or reconditioned units;

(v) The total price and applicable warranty time periods of instrumentation and accessories such as earmolds, batteries, cords, etc.;

(vi) Any additional insurance that has been placed on the instrument;

(vii) All services included by the dispenser program as part of the complete amplification package, i.e. follow-up visits, reprogramming visits in the event the instrument is programmable;

(viii) A notification of the thirty day trial period during which time she/he may return the instrument, in the original condition less normal wear, with no further financial obligation. The purchaser shall have access to the dispenser during the trial period, in order to receive appropriate follow-up monitoring, i.e. modification, adjustment, reprogramming, shell refit, in order to optimize comfort and instrument benefit. All professional and service fees shall have been clearly stated in the contract. Refund shall be made to the customer within ten days of return.

(ix) Disclaimer: "A hearing aid will not restore normal hearing.";

(x) Signature of dispenser and name in print;

(xi) Signature of patient;

(xii) Date of purchase; or

(xiii) Department of Health license number. ADD}

5-49-12. Complaints -- Grounds and proceedings for revocation or suspension of licenses. -- (a) Any person wishing to make a complaint against a licensee under this chapter shall reduce the same to writing and file this complaint to the department within one year from the date of the action upon which the complaint is based. If the department determines the charges made in the complaint are sufficient to warrant a hearing to determine whether the license issued under this chapter shall be suspended or revoked, it shall make an order fixing a time and place for a hearing and require the licensee complained against to appear and defend against the complaint. The order shall have annexed thereto a copy of the complaint. The order and copy of the complaint shall be served upon the licensee at least twenty (20) days before the date set for hearing; either personally or by registered mail sent to licensee's last known address. Continuances or adjournment of hearing date shall be made if for good cause. At the hearing, the licensee complained against may be represented by counsel. The licensee complained against and the department shall have the right to take depositions in advance of hearing and after service of the complaint and either may compel the attendance of witness by subpoenas issued by the department under its seal. Either party taking depositions shall give at least five (5) days' written notice to the other party of the time and place of those depositions, and the other party shall have the right to attend (with counsel if desired) and cross-examine. Appeals from suspension or revocation may be made through the appropriate administrative procedures act.

(b) Any person registered under this chapter may have his or her license revoked or suspended for a fixed period by the department for any of the following causes:

(1) The conviction of a felony, or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. The record of conviction, or a certified copy thereof, certified by the clerk of the court or by the judge in whose court the conviction is had, shall be conclusive evidence of such conviction.

(2) Procuring of license by fraud or deceit practiced upon the department.

(3) Unethical conduct, including:

(i) The obtaining of any fee or the making of any sale by fraud or misrepresentation.

(ii) Knowingly employing directly or indirectly any suspended or unregistered person to perform any work covered by this chapter.

(iii) Using or causing or promoting the use of any advertising matter, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, brand, insignia or any other representation, however disseminated or published, which is misleading, deceptive or untruthful.

(iv) Advertising a particular model or type of hearing aid for sale when purchasers or prospective purchasers responding to the advertisement cannot purchase the advertised model or type, where it is established that the purpose of the advertisement is to obtain prospects for the sale of a different model or type than that advertised.

(v) Representing that the service or advice of a person licensed to practice medicine will be used or made available in the selection, fitting, adjustment, maintenance or repair of hearing aids when that is not true {DEL , or using the words "doctor", "clinic" or similar words, abbreviations or symbols which tend to connote the medical profession when such use is not accurate DEL} .

(vi) Habitual intemperance.

(vii) Gross immorality.

(viii) Permitting another's use of a license.

(ix) Advertising a manufacturer's product or using a manufacturer's name or trademark which implies a relationship with the manufacturer that does not exist.

(x) Directly or indirectly giving or offering to give, or permitting or causing to be given money or anything of value to any person who advises another in a professional capacity as an inducement to influence him or her or have him or her influence others to purchase or contract to purchase products sold or offered for sale by a hearing aid dealer or fitter, or influencing persons to refrain from dealing in the products of competitors.

{ADD (xi) Misrepresenting when such is not the case, that the hearing aid is or will be "custom-made", "made to order", or "prescription-made", or in any other sense specially fabricated for an individual person. ADD}

(4) Conducting business while suffering from a contagious or infectious disease.

(5) Engaging in the fitting and sale of hearing aids under a false name or alias with fraudulent intent.

(6) Selling a hearing aid to a person who has not been given tests utilizing appropriate established procedures and instrumentation in fitting of hearing aids, except in cases of selling replacement hearing aids. Selling a hearing aid to a person who has discharge from the ear, loss of balance and dizzy spells, a loss of hearing for less than ninety (90) days, unless that person has received a prescription from a physician.

(7) Gross incompetence or negligence in fitting and selling hearing aids.

(8) Violating any provisions of this chapter.

SECTION 2. Chapter 5-49 of the General Laws entitled "Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

{ADD 5-49-23. Other rights and remedies. -- ADD} {ADD The rights and remedies provided to a purchaser by this chapter are in addition to and shall not be construed to abrogate or diminish any rights and remedies the purchaser may have under other laws, including but not limited to, chapter 2 of title 6A, chapter 2.1 of title 6A, and to chapter 45 of title 6 of the general laws. ADD}

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect on January 1, 1998.

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