Chapter 346 Hearing Aid Fitters and Dealers
346.130 - Board meetings, when.
The board shall meet not less than twice each year at a place, day and hour determined by the board.The board shall also meet at such other times and places as may be requested by the division or on the call of the chairperson.
346.030 - Inapplicability of law, when.
Sections 346.010 to 346.250 shall not apply to any audiologist licensed pursuant to chapter 345 while practicing exclusively under that license.
346.065 - Examinations, when held.
The board shall give examinations with sufficient frequency to permit applicants to be examined within six months following the submission of the license application.
346.075 - Fee for temporary permit — supervision and training required for temporary permit holder.
1.Upon receiving an application as provided under section 346.070 and accompanied by a temporary permit fee, the board shall issue a temporary permit which shall entitle the applicant to engage in supervised training for a period of one year.A holder of a temporary permit who is engaged in supervised training under a supervisor is authorized to use only the title "hearing instrument specialist in-training", or its equivalent, as defined by board rule.A hearing instrument specialist in-training shall not hold himself out to the public by any title, term, or words that give the impression that the permit holder is a licensed hearing instrument specialist.The division, upon recommendation of the board, shall have the power to suspend or revoke the temporary permit of any person who violates the provisions of this subsection.
2.A licensed hearing instrument specialist shall be responsible for the supervised training of no more than two holders of a temporary permit and shall maintain adequate supervision, as defined by board rule.The board shall issue a certificate of registration to a hearing instrument specialist who has qualified himself or herself to provide supervised training to permit holders.The qualifications for a supervisor shall be established by board rule.A fee shall be charged for any registration of supervision, as defined by board rule.The division may withdraw the certificate of authority from any supervisor who violates any provision of sections 346.010 to 346.250 or any rule promulgated pursuant thereto.
346.020 - Purchase agreement, contents.
1.Any person who engages in the practice of fitting hearing instruments shall deliver to each person supplied with a hearing instrument a completed purchase agreement which shall include the licensee's signature, business address and the licensee's license number, together with specifications as to the make, model and serial number of the hearing instrument furnished.The terms of the sale shall be clearly stated in the purchase agreement using ordinary English language and terminology which is easily understood by the purchaser.The purchase agreement shall include, at a minimum:the exact amount of any down payment, the length of any trial period provided, the amount of any charges or service fees connected with any trial period and any right of the purchaser to return the hearing instrument.If no right exists to return the hearing instrument, the seller shall specify such in writing in the agreement.If a hearing instrument which is not new is sold, the purchase agreement and the container thereof shall be clearly marked as "used", "recased" or "reconditioned", whichever is applicable, with terms of guarantee, if any.
2.If a hearing instrument is remanufactured or assembled by someone other than the manufacturer of the component parts, the purchase agreement shall contain the name of the manufacturer of the component parts and the assembler or reassembler of such hearing instrument.
346.120 - Board of examiners for hearing instrument specialists — qualifications, terms, appointment, compensation and expenses of members.
1.There is hereby established the "Missouri Board of Examiners for Hearing Instrument Specialists", which shall guide, advise and make recommendations to the division.The council for hearing aid dealers and fitters is abolished.Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the appointment of any current member of the council for hearing aid dealers and fitters to the Missouri board of examiners for hearing instrument specialists upon August 28, 1995.
2.Members of the board shall be United States citizens and residents of the state for a period of not less than one year.The board shall consist of five hearing instrument specialists, one otolaryngologist, one voting public member and one audiologist holding a certificate of clinical competence and licensed pursuant to chapter 345.Each hearing instrument specialist on the board shall have no less than five years of experience in the practice of fitting hearing instruments and shall hold a valid license as a hearing instrument specialist as provided in sections 346.010 to 346.250.
3.Each member of the board shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate.The term of office of each member shall be for four years, except that the first board appointed shall consist of two members, one of which shall be the public member, whose terms shall be for four years, two members whose terms shall be for three years, two members whose terms shall be for two years and two members whose terms shall be for one year.Upon the expiration of a member's term, the governor shall appoint a successor.The members of the board shall annually designate one member to serve as chairperson and another to serve as vice chairperson.Upon the absence of the chairperson, the vice chairperson shall assume the duties of the chairperson.
4.No member of the board who has served a full term may be reappointed to the board until at least one year after the expiration of the member's term of office.
5.Each member of the board shall receive as compensation an amount set by the division for each day devoted to the affairs of the board and shall be reimbursed for the member's actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of the member's duties.
6.The public member shall be at the time of appointment a citizen of the United States, a resident of this state for a period of one year and a registered voter; a person who is not, and never was, a member of any profession licensed or regulated under this chapter or the spouse of such person; and a person who does not have, and never has had, a material financial interest in either the providing of the professional services regulated by this chapter, or any activity or organization directly related to any profession licensed or regulated under this chapter.The duties of the public member shall not include the determination of the technical requirements to be met for licensure or whether any person meets such technical requirements or of the technical competence or technical judgment of a licensee or a candidate for licensure.
7.No member of the board shall use his or her position on the board to advance any financial or material interest the member may have in the provision of professional services regulated by sections 346.010 to 346.250.Members of the board may be removed from office for cause.Upon death, resignation or removal from office of any member of the board, any such vacancy shall be filled by the governor.
8.The board may sue and be sued as the Missouri board of examiners for hearing instrument specialists, and its members need not be named as parties.Members of the board shall not be personally liable, either jointly or severally, for any act committed in the performance of their official duties as board members, nor shall any board member be personally liable for any costs which accrue in any action by or against the board.
346.055 - Requirements for licensure.
1.An applicant may obtain a license provided the applicant:
(1)Is at least eighteen years of age; and
(2)Is of good moral character; and
(3)Successfully passes a qualifying examination as described under sections 346.010 to 346.250; and
(4)(a)Holds an associate's degree or higher, from a state or regionally accredited institution of higher education, in hearing instrument sciences; or
(b)Holds an associate's level degree or higher, from a state or regionally accredited institution of higher education and submits proof of completion of the International Hearing Society's Distance Learning for Professionals in Hearing Health Sciences Course; or
(c)Holds a master's or doctoral degree in audiology from a state or regionally accredited institution; or
(d)Holds a current, unsuspended, unrevoked license from another country if the standards for licensing in such country, as determined by the board, are substantially equivalent to or exceed those required in paragraph (a) or (b) of this subdivision; or
(e)Holds a current, unsuspended, unrevoked license from another country, has been actively practicing as a licensed hearing aid fitter or dispenser in another country for no less than forty-eight of the last seventy-two months, and submits proof of completion of advance certification from either the International Hearing Society or the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences.
2.The provisions of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to any person holding a valid Missouri hearing instrument specialist license under this chapter when applying for the renewal of that license.These provisions shall apply to any person holding a hearing instrument specialist-in-training permit at the time of their application for licensure or renewal of said permit.
3.(1)The board shall promulgate reasonable standards and rules for the evaluation of applicants for purposes of determining the course of instruction and training required of each applicant for a hearing instrument specialist license under the requirement of subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of this section.
(2)Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536 and, if applicable, section 536.028.This section and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536 to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2013, shall be invalid and void.
346.100 - Complaints against licensees, how made, hearing — sanctions — records.
1.Any person wishing to make a complaint against a licensee under sections 346.010 to 346.250 shall reduce the same to writing and file the complaint with the board, setting forth the details thereof upon which the complaint is based.If the board, following an investigation, determines the charges made in the complaint are sufficient to warrant a hearing to determine whether the license issued under sections 346.010 to 346.250 shall be suspended or revoked, the board shall file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission as provided by chapter 621.
2.After the filing of such complaint, the proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 621.Upon a finding by the administrative hearing commission that the grounds, provided in subsection 2 of section 346.105, for disciplinary action are met, the board may, singly or in combination, censure or place the person named in the complaint on probation on such terms and conditions as the board deems appropriate for a period not to exceed five years, or may suspend, for a period not to exceed three years, or revoke the license or certificate.
3.The board shall maintain an information file containing each complaint filed with the board relating to a licensee.The board, at least quarterly, shall notify the complainant and licensee of the complaint's status until final disposition.
346.110 - Prohibited acts.
No person shall:
(1)Sell through the mails, hearing instruments without prior fitting and testing by a hearing instrument specialist licensed under this chapter or an audiologist licensed under chapter 345;
(2)Sell, barter, or offer to sell or barter a license;
(3)Purchase or procure by barter a license with intent to use it as evidence of the holder's qualification to engage in the practice of fitting hearing instruments;
(4)Alter a license with fraudulent intent;
(5)Use or attempt to use as a valid license a license which has been purchased, fraudulently obtained, counterfeited or materially altered;
(6)Willfully make a false statement in an application for license or application for renewal of a license.
346.010 - Definitions.
As used in sections 346.010 to 346.250, except as the context may require otherwise, the following terms mean:
(1)"Audiologist", a clinical audiologist licensed pursuant to chapter 345;
(2)"Board", the Missouri board of examiners for hearing instrument specialists, which is established in section 346.120;
(3)"Department", the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration;
(4)"Division", the division of professional registration;
(5)"Hearing instrument" or "hearing aid", any wearable instrument or device designed for or offered for the purpose of aiding or compensating for impaired human hearing and that can provide more than fifteen decibel full-on gain via a two cc coupler at any single frequency from two hundred through six thousand cycles per second, and any parts, attachments, or accessories, including earmold, but excluding batteries, cords, receivers and repairs;
(6)"Hearing instrument specialist" or "specialist", a person licensed by the state pursuant to sections 346.010 to 346.250 who is authorized to engage in the practice of fitting hearing instruments;
(7)"Hearing instrument specialist in-training", a person who holds a temporary permit issued by the division to fit hearing instruments under the supervision of a hearing instrument specialist;
(8)"License", a license issued by the state under sections 346.010 to 346.250 to hearing instrument specialists;
(9)"Otolaryngologist", a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the state of Missouri pursuant to chapter 334 and who spends the majority of the person's practice seeing patients with ear, nose, and throat diseases;
(10)"Person", an individual, corporation, partnership, joint venture, association, trust or any other legal entity;
(11)"Practice of fitting hearing instruments", the selection, adaptation, and sale of hearing instruments, including the testing and evaluation of hearing by means of an audiometer and the making of impressions for earmolds;
(12)"Registration of supervision", the process of obtaining a certificate of authority issued by the division to a hearing instrument specialist that enables the specialist to supervise one or more hearing instrument specialists in-training, as defined by division rules;
(13)"Sell or sale", any transfer of title or of the right to use by lease, bailment, or any other contract, excluding wholesale transactions with distributors or dealers;
(14)"Supervised training", the program of education and experience, as defined by division rule, required to be followed by each hearing instrument specialist in-training;
(15)"Supervisor", a hearing instrument specialist who has filed a registration of supervision with the board and has received from the division a certificate of authority;
(16)"Temporary permit", a permit issued by the division while the applicant is in training to become a licensed hearing instrument specialist.
346.045 - Registration, when, fee — license issued, when.
The board shall license each qualified applicant, without discrimination, who passes an examination as provided in this chapter and upon the applicant's payment of the examination fee and the license fee, shall issue to the applicant a license.
346.115 - Powers and duties of division.
The powers and duties of the division are as follows:
(1)To exercise all budgeting, purchasing, reporting and other related management functions;
(2)To employ, within the funds appropriated, such staff as are necessary to carry out the provisions of sections 346.010 to 346.250.
346.015 - License required — exception — penalty for violation.
1.No person shall engage in the practice of fitting hearing instruments or display a sign or in any other way advertise or represent such person by any other words, letters, abbreviations or insignia indicating or implying that the person practices the fitting of hearing instruments unless the person holds a valid license issued by the board as provided in this chapter.The license shall be conspicuously posted in the person's office or place of business.Duplicate licenses shall be issued by the department to valid license holders operating more than one office, without additional payment.A license under this chapter shall confer upon the holder the right to select, fit and sell hearing instruments.
2.Each person licensed pursuant to sections 346.010 to 346.250 shall display the license in an appropriate and public manner and shall keep the board informed of the licensee's current address.A license issued pursuant to sections 346.010 to 346.250 is the property of the board and must be surrendered on demand in the event of expiration or after a final determination is made with respect to revocation, suspension or probation.
3.Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a corporation, partnership, trust, association or other like organization maintaining an established business address from engaging in the business of selling or offering for sale hearing instruments at retail, provided that it employ only properly licensed hearing instrument specialists or properly licensed audiologists in the direct sale and fitting of such instruments.Each corporation, partnership, trust, association or other like organization shall file annually with the board on a form provided by the board, a list of all licensed hearing instrument specialists employed by it.Each organization shall also file with the board a statement, on a form provided by the board, that it agrees to comply with the rules and regulations of the board and the provisions of this chapter.
4.Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
346.250 - Violations of law, penalties.
1.Any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, trust, or association, and any officer, director, partner, trustee, agent, or employee thereof who violates the provisions of section 346.110 is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense and prosecuted individually.
2.In addition to other remedies, an action of injunction may be brought and maintained by the state of Missouri to enjoin any violation of section 346.110.
346.105 - Denial, revocation, or suspension of license, grounds for.
1.The board may refuse to issue any certificate of registration or authority, permit or license required pursuant to this chapter, upon recommendation of the board, for one or any combination of causes stated in subsection 2 of this section.The board shall notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the refusal and shall advise the applicant of the applicant's right to file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission as provided by chapter 621.
2.The division may cause a complaint to be filed with the administrative hearing commission as provided by chapter 621 against any holder of any certificate of registration or authority, permit or license required by this chapter or against any person who has failed to renew or has surrendered such person's certificate of registration or authority, permit or license for any one or any combination of the following causes:
(1)Use of any controlled substance, as defined in chapter 195, or alcoholic beverage to an extent that such use impairs a person's ability to perform the work of any profession licensed or regulated by this chapter;
(2)The person has been finally adjudicated and found guilty, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, in a criminal prosecution under the laws of any state or of the United States, for any offense reasonably related to the qualification, functions or duties of any profession licensed or regulated under this chapter, for any offense an essential element of which is fraud, dishonesty or an act of violence, or for any offense involving moral turpitude, whether or not sentence is imposed;
(3)Use of fraud, deception, misrepresentation or bribery in securing any certificate of registration or authority, permit or license issued pursuant to this chapter or in obtaining permission to take any examination given or required pursuant to this chapter;
(4)Obtaining or attempting to obtain any fee, charge, tuition or other compensation by fraud, deception or misrepresentation;
(5)Incompetency, misconduct, gross negligence, fraud, misrepresentation or dishonesty in the performance of the functions or duties of any profession licensed or regulated by this chapter;
(6)Violation of, or assisting or enabling any person to violate, any provision of this chapter, or of any lawful rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter;
(7)Impersonation of any person holding a certificate of registration or authority, permit or license or allowing any person to use his or her certificate of registration or authority, permit, license or diploma from any school;
(8)Disciplinary action against the holder of a license or other right to practice any profession regulated by this chapter granted by another state, territory, federal agency or country upon grounds for which revocation or suspension is authorized in this state;
(9)A person is finally adjudged insane or incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction;
(10)Assisting or enabling any person to practice or offer to practice any profession licensed or regulated by this chapter who is not registered and currently eligible to practice under this chapter;
(11)Issuance of a certificate of registration or authority, permit or license based upon a material mistake of fact;
(12)Failure to display a valid certificate or license if so required by this chapter or any rule promulgated hereunder;
(13)Violation of any professional trust or confidence;
(14)Use of any advertisement or solicitation which is false, misleading or deceptive to the general public or persons to whom the advertisement or solicitation is primarily directed;
(15)Representing that the service or advice of a person licensed as a physician pursuant to chapter 334 will be used or made available in the selection, fitting, adjustment, maintenance or repair of hearing instruments when that is not true, or using the words "doctor", "clinic", "clinical audiologist", "state-licensed clinic", "state registered", "state certified", or "state approved" or any other term, abbreviation, or symbol when it would falsely give the impression that service is being provided by physicians licensed pursuant to chapter 334, or by audiologists licensed pursuant to chapter 345, or that the licensee's service has been recommended by the state when such is not the case.
346.070 - Temporary permit issued, when.
An applicant who fulfills the requirements regarding age, character, and education as set forth in section 346.055, may obtain a temporary permit upon application to the board, as defined by board rule.
346.025 - Purchasers under eighteen — outside examination required.
Any licensed hearing instrument specialist, when dealing with a person eighteen years of age or under, shall ensure that the person has been examined by an otolaryngologist or a physician licensed to practice in Missouri, or a licensed audiologist, and has received a written recommendation from such health care professional within ninety days prior to the fitting.
346.125 - Board, duties.
1.The board shall:
(1)Issue and renew permits, licenses, and certificates of registration or authority;
(2)License persons who apply to the board and who are qualified to engage in the practice of fitting hearing instruments;
(3)Obtain facilities necessary to carry out the examination of applicants as provided in section 346.035;
(4)Receive and process complaints;
(5)Review all complaints, authorize investigations wherein there is a possible violation of sections 346.010 to 346.250 or regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, and make recommendations to the division regarding any filing with the administrative hearing commission;
(6)Recommend for prosecution any person who has violated any provisions of sections 346.010 to 346.250 to an appropriate prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney;
(7)Make and publish rules not inconsistent with the laws of this state which are necessary to carry out the provisions of sections 346.010 to 346.250.Such rules shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state in accordance with chapter 536.Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536 and, if applicable, section 536.028.This section and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536 to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2009, shall be invalid and void;
(8)Adopt and publish a code of ethics;
(9)Set the amount of the fees authorized under this chapter and required by rules promulgated under chapter 536.The board shall set fees which reflects the cost and expense of administering this chapter;
(10)Establish an official seal;
(11)Provide an examination for applicants.The board may obtain the services of specially trained and qualified persons or organizations to assist in developing or conducting examinations;
(12)Review the examination results of applicants for licensure;
(13)Determine the appropriate educational requirements, as defined by division rule, for any applicant desiring to be registered as a permit holder, a hearing instrument specialist, or a supervisor;
(14)Follow the provisions of the division's administrative practices and procedures in conducting all official duties.
2.The chairperson or vice chairperson shall have power to administer oaths and to subpoena witnesses to require attendance and testimony and to require production of documents and records, and to that end the board may invoke the aid of the circuit court of any county of the state having jurisdiction over the witness, and any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.
346.135 - Hearing instrument specialist fund, created, uses — amount of fund to lapse.
1.All fees and charges payable pursuant to this chapter shall be collected by the division and transmitted to the department of revenue for deposit in the state treasury to the credit of the fund to be known as the "Hearing Instrument Specialist Fund", which is hereby created.Money in the hearing instrument specialist fund shall be available by appropriation to the council to pay its expenses in administering sections 346.010 to 346.250.
2.Money in the hearing instrument specialist fund shall not be transferred and placed to the credit of general revenue until the amount in the fund at the end of the biennium exceeds two times the amount of the appropriation from the council's funds for the preceding fiscal year or, if the division requires by rule renewal less frequently than yearly then three times the appropriation from the fund for the preceding fiscal year.The amount, if any, in the fund which shall lapse is that amount in the fund which exceeds the appropriate multiple of the appropriation from the council's funds for the preceding year.
346.035 - Exempt profession.
Sections 346.010 to 346.250 shall not apply to a person who is a physician licensed to practice in Missouri pursuant to chapter 334.
346.060 - Examination, written and practical required.
An applicant for license by examination shall appear at a time, place, and before such persons as the board may designate to be examined by means of written and practical tests in order to demonstrate that the applicant is qualified to engage in the practice of fitting hearing instruments.Nothing in this examination shall imply that the applicant shall possess the degree of medical competence normally expected of physicians.
346.095 - Renewal, fee, completion of educational program and calibration of equipment required — late renewal, fee, limit.
Each person who engages in the practice of fitting hearing instruments shall, on or before the renewal date, pay to the board the required fee, present written evidence to the board of annual calibration of all audiometers, and furnish to the board satisfactory evidence of having successfully completed an educational program approved by the board.The licensee shall keep such license conspicuously posted in licensee's office or place of business at all times.Where more than one office is operated by the licensee, duplicate licenses shall be issued by the board for posting in each location.After the expiration date of a license, the board may renew a license upon payment of the required penalty fee to the board.No person whose license has expired shall be required to submit to any examination as a condition of renewal, provided such renewal application is made within two years from the date of such expiration and all renewal requirements have been met as set forth in this section.
346.085 - Examination — standards to be promulgated.
1.The qualifying examination provided in section 346.060 shall be designed to demonstrate the applicant's adequate technical qualifications in the practice of fitting hearing instruments as defined by the board.
2.The board shall promulgate reasonable standards and rules that identify and describe the required technical knowledge and skill of fitting hearing instruments necessary to prepare each applicant for licensure by testing.Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536 and, if applicable, section 536.028.This section and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536 to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2013, shall be invalid and void.
346.137 - Licensure under other chapters.
No part of this act* shall be construed to allow individuals to diagnose and treat medical conditions pursuant to chapter 334.
346.007 - Title of act.
Sections 346.010 to 346.250 shall be known and may be cited as the "Hearing Instrument Specialists Act".
346.080 - Temporary permit renewed, when — temporary license issued, when — bond required for temporary licensee.
If a hearing instrument specialist in-training under this section or section 346.075 has not successfully passed the licensing examination within one year from the date of issuance of the temporary permit, the temporary permit may be renewed by the board once for a period of six months upon payment by the applicant of a fee, as defined by board rule.
346.090 - Licensee to report address of business to board, record to be kept — notices, sent where.
1.A licensee shall notify the board in writing of the regular address of the place or places where the licensee engages or intends to engage in the practice of fitting hearing instruments, and the board shall keep a record of the place of business of licensees.
2.Any notice required to be given by the board to a person who holds a license shall be mailed to the licensee at the address of the last known place of business.