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November 18, 1998

Agency moves to revoke privileges for hearing aid provider

TUMWATER -- The state is taking action to revoke authorization for Professional Hearing Care, Inc. of Longview to provide services to injured workers through the workers' compensation system.

The Department of Labor & Industries said it is seeking the revocation within 60 days, beginning Nov. 17. The department said an agency investigation showed that Professional Hearing Care, Inc. has violated four laws since July 1997. These include:

  • Charging injured workers a percentage of their disability awards in exchange for filling out paperwork.
  • Paying fees to other people to refer injured workers to the firm for services.
  • Submitting false medical reports to Labor & Industries.
  • Falsifying documents to change workers' addresses and replacing them with the firm's post-office box number without the workers' authorization.

Providers are not allowed to charge injured workers for filling out claim-related paperwork or for acting as a worker's representative.

Professional Hearing Care, Inc. is owned and operated by Sondra L. Napier of Longview. The firm provides hearing aids to injured workers who file claims with Labor & Industries. The department then pays for allowable services.

Labor & Industries manages the state-run workers' compensation system, providing coverage to 160,000 employers and 1.6 million workers.

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