Text/HTML Temp

Newborn Hearing Screening State Laws

8/5/2021

Alternative Text

Hearing screening is a test that tells if an individual has hearing loss. The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities recommends that newborns be screened for hearing loss no later than one month of age and before leaving the hospital after birth.

Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital conditions; approximately three infants per 1,000 are born with moderate, profound or severe hearing loss. Hearing loss is even more common in infants admitted to intensive care units at birth. It can impede speech, language, and cognitive development if it is not detected and treated early. Over time, such a delay can lead to significant educational costs and learning difficulties. 

Screening programs are typically cost-effective. The CDC’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program estimates that newborn hearing screening saves $200 million in education costs each year.

With early intervention in mind, states have taken action to ensure children are screened and treated early for hearing loss. Nationally, screening rates have increased significantly over time. Of the nearly 4 million infants born in the United States in 2017, 98.3% were screened for hearing loss. States have taken various approaches to this issue. Some states require all hospitals or birthing centers to screen infants for hearing loss before discharge and some states require insurance providers to cover the cost of the screening. Other states use state dollars to fund screening programs or require that information on hearing screening be available to parents before they leave the hospital. At least twenty-eight states allow newborns to be exempt from universal hearing screening programs if a parent objects to the testing.

State Laws

At least forty-five states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia require hearing screening for newborns, including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eighteen states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia require specified or all health insurers to cover the screening, including: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

At least four states—Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia—have laws that specify who shall pay for the screening if a third-party payer does not reimburse the facility and parents cannot pay.  About 20 states and Puerto Rico have created task forces or advisory committees on newborn hearing screening.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

Newborn Hearing Screening Legislation

State

Summary of Statutes

Alabama

Ala. Code § 22.20.3 (1991) requires all newborns to be tested for detectable conditions by mass screening as designated by the board of health within 28 days or less of age. Parents or guardians may object to the screening. Newborn hearing screening was added to the mandated Alabama Newborn Screening panel of disorders in 2008.
Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 21.42.349 (2006) requires health care insurers to provide coverage for newborn and infant hearing screening within 30 days after birth. Parents or guardians may object to the screening. Insurers must also provide coverage for a follow-up confirmatory hearing diagnostic evaluation if the initial screening determines that the child may have a hearing impairment. (HB 109)

Alaska Stat. § 47.20.300 et seq. (2006) establish a screening, tracking and intervention program for newborn hearing screening. The law also provides for parental notification of a child's potential hearing impairment. (HB 109)
American Samoa Am. Samoa Code § 13.0206 (2007) specifies the powers of the public health department and this includes conducting health promotion and disease prevention programs, child hearing screening is listed.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36-694 (2005, 2008, 2014) requires the director of the department of health services to establish a newborn screening program to ensure tests and follow-up on newborns for certain congenital disorders, including hearing tests, are conducted effectively and efficiently. This law was amended in 2008 (HB 2802) to include guidelines for reporting results of hearing screening tests to the department of health services and establishes a new fee schedule for first hearing tests. The 2014 amendment established a central database for test results and designates the state laboratory as the only testing facility for the newborn hearing screening program. (2014 HB 2491)

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 20-15-1101 et seq. (1993) establish the Newborn Infant Hearing Screening Program. Hospitals, birthing centers and lay midwives shall complete hearing impairment at-risk questionnaires, but parents may submit a written refusal for hearing screening.  These facilities shall send newborn hearing test results to the Department of Health. Facilities shall provide parents or guardians with hearing-impaired newborns with information on locations where they may seek follow-up.

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 20-15-1501 et seq. (1999) create the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, Tracking, and Intervention Advisory Board. The law also requires birthing hospitals with more than 50 births per year to provide or arrange for a bilateral hearing screening at each birth. Test costs are reimbursable under Medicaid and the results will be forwarded to the department of health each month. Birthing hospitals shall provide information to the parents or guardians of the newborns on how follow-up care and screening can be obtained. (1999 SB 819)

California

Cal. Health and Safety Code § 123975 (1998) requires a hearing screening for every newborn upon birth through licensed prenatal services. Parents or guardians may object to the screening. (AB 2780)

Cal. Senate Concurrent Resolution 105 (1998) encourages the department of health to seek the advice of the State Newborn Hearing Screening Intervention Task Force about approaches to screen all newborns and infants for hearing loss and allows the task force to monitor the implementation of the program.

Cal. Health and Safety Code § 124115 et seq. (1998, 2006) establish the Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening, Tracking, and Intervention Act. The law requires every general acute hospital with licensed perinatal services to administer a hearing screening to every newborn and to provide follow-up and assessment services when necessary. The law requires all acute care hospitals that are approved for California Children's Services funding to offer this screening. Hospitals that are not approved by the Children's Services program must contract for service. (AB 2651)

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-1004.7 (1997, 2018) creates an advisory committee on hearing in newborn infants to collect data to report to the legislature and provide recommendations to hospitals and other health care institutions. Newborn hearing screening shall be conducted on infants born in the state using procedures recommended by the advisory committee. (HB 18-1006)

6 Colo. Code Regs. § 1009-6:1 et seq. (2020) create a specific rulemaking authority regarding newborn screening in Colorado. The regulation defines the professional effort for health professionals attending a birth outside a hospital, reporting requirements for initial and rescreening results to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and follow up services for newborns at risk of hearing loss.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-59 (1997) requires certain health care institutions to include universal newborn hearing screening as part of their standard of care and establishes a compliance review mechanism. Parents or guardians may object to the screening.

Conn. Agencies Regs 19a-59-1 (2000) provides minimum requirements for the universal newborn hearing screening program along with a provision for parental objection.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 801A et seq. (2005) require each hospital to establish a universal newborn hearing screening program and provide parental notice before discharge. (HB 205)

Del. Code Ann. tit. 18, § 3352 (2005) and § 3568 (2005) require individual health insurance policies to provide coverage for hearing loss screening tests of newborns and infants before discharge from the hospital.

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. § 7-858.02 (2019) requires that every hospital, birth facility and nurse-midwife inform and educate the parent of a newborn of screening for hearing impairments and screen all newborns delivered or cared for at the hospital, home, or birthing facility unless the parent withholds consent. The bill also requires individual and group health benefit plans to provide coverage for newborn screenings.

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 383.145 (2000) requires licensed hospitals and birthing facilities that provide maternity and newborn care services to provide screening for hearing loss if the parents or legal guardians do not object. All screenings shall be conducted by a licensed audiologist, physician or specifically trained and supervised individual in newborn hearing screening. Hospitals and birthing centers conducting screenings are responsible for providing appropriate staff training, screening program supervision, monitoring the scoring and interpretation of screening results, rendering appropriate recommendations and coordinating the appropriate follow-up services. Provisions include informing parents of the importance of hearing screening for infants not delivered in a hospital or birthing center. In addition, the law mandates insurance coverage, including Medicaid, of the initial screening and any medically necessary follow-up re-evaluations leading to diagnosis. (HB 399)

Georgia

Ga. Code § 31-1-3.2 (1999) establishes an advisory committee on newborn hearing screening to study and collect information to provide recommendations to health care facilities and providers. The law requires hearing screening on no fewer than 95% of all newborn infants born in hospitals and requires hospitals and physicians to educate parents on the importance of screening and follow-up care.

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. 511-5-.01 et seq. provide administrative details and procedures to ensure all newborn babies in Georgia are tested immediately for certain conditions.

Guam

10 G.C.A. § 4101 et seq. (2004) establish the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act, including definitions, programs, insurance coverage and reimbursement.

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 321-361 et seq. (2001) establish a statewide comprehensive and coordinated interdisciplinary program of early hearing impairment screening, identification and follow-up for children from birth to 36 months and their families. The law also requires all infants born in a birthing facility to be screened for hearing impairment unless the infant's parent or guardian objects in writing on religious grounds. The birthing facility must report the screening results to the department of health. Universal newborn hearing screening was first established in 1990; the law was qualified and amended in 2001. (2001 SB 1138)

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 410 § 213 (1999, 2016) requires all hospitals performing deliveries to conduct hearing screening on all newborns unless parents object on religious grounds. The department of public health is required to maintain a registry of children with positive screening results. (HB 4935)

Ill. Admin. Code tit. 89, § 504.10 et seq. (2007) outline the goals of the Universal Newborn Screening Program, hospital screening, reporting and tracking, and diagnostic testing procedures.

Indiana

Ind. Code § 16-41-17-2 (1999) requires that every newborn receives hearing screening examinations at the earliest feasible time unless the infant's parents object to the screening on religious grounds.

Ind. Code § 27-8-24-4 (1999) requires every insurance policy or group contract that provides maternity benefits to cover hearing examinations.

Ind. Code § 12-15-15-6 (2001) specifies that Medicaid shall cover newborn screening examinations.

410 Ind. Admin. Code 3-3-1 et seq. (2018) cover the rules relating to newborn hearing screening, including the responsibilities of the department of health regarding the Early Hearing and Detection Intervention Program and hearing screening protocols for hospitals.

Iowa

Iowa Code § 135.131 (2003, 2009, 2017) requires that all infants born in the state be screened for hearing loss and that the results collected be reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health for follow-up purposes. The bill allows confidential sharing of this information for persons and/or agencies involved with newborn hearing screening, follow-up and intervention services. Parents who do not want their infants tested have the right to request a waiver. (2003 HF 454)

The law also requires the birthing center performing the screening to report the status and results of the hearing test to the child's primary care provider. The screening audiologists shall report the diagnostic audiological assessment, a child's risk indicators for hearing loss and any other information as specified by the department of health. (2009 HF 314)

The law was amended in 2017 to impose additional requirements on the birthing hospital, birth center, physician or other health care professionals who perform the screening. If the results demonstrate that the newborn has hearing loss, providers must test for congenital cytomegalovirus and inform the parents. (2017 SF 51)

Iowa Admin. Code r. 641-3.1 (135) et seq. (2018) cover the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program rules. The rules include the goals and outcomes of the program, screening procedures for hospitals and birthing centers, the establishment of an advisory committee and congenital cytomegalovirus testing for newborns who do not pass the initial newborn hearing screening.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 65-1,157a (1999, 2004) establishes the Newborn Infant Hearing Act and requires that every child born in the state receive a screening examination to detect hearing loss. The newborn's parents or guardian must provide informed consent. The law also authorizes the secretary of health and environment to apply for and receive grants or other money that may be available from the federal government. (2004 SB 511)

Kan. Admin. Regs. 28-4-600 – 613 (2004) are the rules and regulations concerning the equipment, protocols and personnel involved in newborn hearing screening.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 216.2970 (2000) requires all hospitals offering obstetric services and certain alternative birthing centers to provide a hearing screening for all infants. The law also requires a screening report of potential hearing loss to be forwarded within 24 hours to the attending physician, the parents and the Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 213.046 (16) (1990) requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to forward information to parents regarding the importance of infant hearing screening and a list of options available for obtaining screening tests if a birth occurs outside of a healthcare institution.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 211.647 (1992, 2013) directs the Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs to provide an evaluation and referral to the Kentucky Early Intervention System if necessary. The law also requires the office to maintain a list of approved centers for infant audiological assessment and diagnosis and requires the approved centers to provide data as requested for evaluation.

911 Ky. Admin. Regs. 1:085 (2001) covers the rules and regulations concerning the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program.

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 46:2261 et seq. (1999) the Identification of Hearing Loss in Infants Law establishes a program for early identification and follow-up of infants susceptible to a hearing disability, deaf or hard of hearing infants, and infants susceptible to developing progressive hearing loss. The law requires all newborn infants to receive a hearing screening before discharge from the hospital.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 22, § 8821 et seq. (2000, 2007) establish the Newborn Hearing Program to provide hearing screening, evaluation, treatment and intervention services for newborns. The law establishes a hearing screening advisory board and authorizes the department of health to enact evaluative measures for hearing screening and services for children from birth to age 3. Evaluations should include a tracking system to allow for better integration of services. Hospitals must report their screening and treatment data to the department of health.

Code Me. R. tit. 10-144 Ch. 279 (2004) defines the responsibilities of hospital administration and staff, primary health care providers, the Maine Newborn Hearing Program, pediatric audiology providers, and others regarding screening newborn infants for hearing loss and the tracking and follow-up of identified infants.

Maryland

Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 4-208 (3) (1999) requires hospitals to provide the results of universal newborn hearing screening to the department of health as part of required birth event information.

Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 13-601 et seq.  and § 19-308.5 (1999) establish a universal hearing screening program for early identification and follow-up of infants who have a risk factor for developing a hearing impairment. The law specifies that each hospital that provides obstetric services shall establish a universal newborn hearing screening program.  The law also establishes an advisory council for the program.

Md. Insurance Code Ann. § 15-817 (c) (2) (1999, 2010) requires certain carriers to provide coverage for the universal hearing screening of newborns provided by a hospital before discharge. This law was amended in 2010 to include coverage for all visits and costs of developmental screening as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which includes hearing screening for newborns. (HB 1017)

Md. Code Regs. 10.11.02.01 et. seq (2015) are the rules and regulations concerning the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program.

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. 111 § 67F (1998) requires that a hearing screening test be performed on all newborns in a birthing hospital or center before discharge unless the parents object on religious grounds. The law establishes an advisory committee to advise the department of health on a statewide newborn hearing screening program. The cost of providing the screening shall be a covered benefit reimbursable by all health insurers. In the absence of a third-party payer, the commonwealth will pay the charges.

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. 32A § 17F118E § 10B175 § 47C176A § 8B176B § 4C and 176G § 4K (1998) require coverage for newborn hearing screening tests.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.9301 et seq. (1978) require that local health departments conduct periodic hearing and vision testing and screening programs without charge for children residing in their jurisdictions. The local health department shall publicize the free testing and screening service and the time and place of the clinics.  Suppose the results of the hearing screening indicate that a child requires follow-up care. In that case, the parent or guardian must be provided information about follow-up treatment in a written statement.

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.5432 (2006) requires all newborn and infant hearing test results to be reported to the Michigan Department of Health.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 144.966 (2007) instructs every hospital to set up early hearing detection and intervention programs that test each newborn before discharge per the department of health's guidelines. Hospitals must notify the parents, the primary care physician and the department of health about the screening results.  The law also establishes the Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Committee to help the departments of health and education establish guidelines for these programs. (HF 1078)

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 41-90-1 et seq. (1997) require a newborn in a hospital to be tested or evaluated for potential hearing impairment. The law establishes a confidential registration program of newborns, infants and toddlers who suffer from impaired hearing and requires that the department of health maintain the registry. In addition, the law creates an advisory committee.

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 376.1220 (1999) requires health insurance policies and Medicaid to cover newborn hearing screenings and additional diagnostic exams.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 191.925 (2002) requires every newborn delivered in an ambulatory surgical center or hospital must be screened for hearing loss before discharge unless the parents object on religious grounds. The law also requires any facility which transfers a newborn to a different facility for further acute care before the completion of the newborn hearing screening to notify the receiving facility of the current status of the hearing screening. If the hearing screening is incomplete, the receiving facility is responsible for completing the hearing screening for newborns.

Mo. Code Regs. Ann. tit. 19 § 40-9.010 et seq. (2002) are the rules and regulations concerning the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program. These rules cover the screening methodologies and procedures and the information reported to the department of health.

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 53-19-401 et seq. (2001, 2007) establish a universal newborn hearing screening program, which encourages a hearing screening test for newborns to identify newborn infant hearing loss. In 2007, this law was amended to state that the department of health must implement a universal newborn hearing screening program to assess each child within the first month of life.  The law instructs the department of health to ensure that hospitals complete the screenings within specified guidelines, provide education, and ensure that children referred for further screening or services receive these screenings and services within three months of birth.  The law requires health care centers to report monthly to the department of health. (2007 HB 117)

Mont. Admin. R. 37.57.401 et seq. (2008) are the administrative rules regarding newborn hearing screening and assessment. These rules cover the screening protocols, reporting and referral procedures, and audiological assessments.

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 71-4734 et seq. (2000) create the Infant Hearing Act, which requires the department of health and human services to implement a system that tracks newborns identified with hearing loss. The law requires every birthing facility to educate the parents of newborns on the importance of receiving a hearing screening test and necessary follow-up care. The law also requires that each birthing facility include a hearing screening test as part of its standard of care for newborns and establish a mechanism for compliance review. The law specifies that a hearing screening test shall be conducted on no fewer than 95% of the newborns born in the state. 

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 44-796 (2000) requires payment for hearing screening tests to be covered under medical assistance and health insurance plans.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 442.500 et seq. (2001) require licensed hospitals and licensed obstetric centers that provide services for maternity care and the care of newborn children to provide a hearing screening exam before discharge unless the parent or legal guardian objects. This requirement does not apply to hospitals that have fewer than 500 births annually. (Nev. Laws, Chap. 510AB 250)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 125-Q (2007) establishes the New Hampshire Commission on Deafness and Hearing Loss and defines its duties.

New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 17:48-6m, § 17:48e-35.10§ 17b:27-46.11§ 17b:27a-7, § 17b:27a-19 and § 26:2j-4.10 require Medicaid and private insurers who offer maternity care to cover newborn and infant hearing screening.

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:2-103.3 et seq. (2001) state that all newborns must be given a hearing screening examination before discharge from any hospital or birthing center.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-1-6 (2005) relates to newborn medical test requirements, expands the number of medical tests required for newborn children, includes tests for hearing and other deficiencies, and congenital diseases.

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-1-6.1 (2001) requires the department of health to adopt rules that require infants born in health facilities licensed by the department to be screened for hearing sensitivity before being discharged. The rules also require the testing of newborns brought to licensed health facilities after birth who have not received a hearing sensitivity screening. The newborn's parents are to be notified of the results of the hearing sensitivity screening and they have the right to object to the screening on religious grounds.

New York

N.Y. Public Health Law § 2500-g (1999, 2010) directs the health commissioner to establish a program to screen newborns for hearing problems and specifies that providers of the services will be reimbursed. The law requires the program to follow consensus medical guidelines and protocols and to include follow-up screening and referrals for screening and care. The law also establishes specific reporting protocols for facilities and persons who perform newborn infant screening. 

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 10, § 69-8.1 et seq. are the rules and regulations concerning the Newborn Hearing Screening Program and include the procedures for screening, the requirements for the administration of the program and the responsibilities of the facilities that administer the program.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen Stat. § 58-3-260 requires newborn hearing screening to be included in insurance coverage.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-125 (1991, 1992, 1998) establishes a newborn screening program and directs the department of health to include hearing screening in the program. Parents or guardians may object to the screening.

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3701.503 et seq. (2002) require the department of health to establish and maintain a statewide hearing screening, tracking and early intervention program. A permanent subcommittee composed of health professionals and other stakeholders consult with the director of health to advise and make recommendations regarding program development and implementation. The department is also responsible for establishing protocols for the treatment and follow-up care of newborns and infants with hearing impairment. The law requires the department of health to pay for screening if a third-party payer and parents do not reimburse the facility and the parents are unable to pay.

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3923.55 (2002) mandates that hearing screening is covered by individual or group sickness and accident insurance.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. § 63-1-543 (2000, 2006) establishes the Newborn Infant Hearing Screening Act and requires the screening of all infants to detect hearing impairments. The law requires that the screening be administered by a physician, audiologist or another qualified person. The law also requires the Oklahoma State Board of Health to develop procedures and guidelines for administering screening procedures to detect hearing impairments. In 2006, the statute was amended to provide exceptions for the department of health and clarify requirements. (2006 SB 1097)

OK Admin Code 310 :540-1-1 et seq. establish the infant hearing screening regulations, which include the requirements for the hearing screening procedure.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 433.321 et seq. (1999, 2003) require hospitals and birthing centers with more than 200 live births per year to provide newborn hearing screenings before the discharge of the newborn child unless the parents object on religious grounds. All hospitals and birthing centers with fewer than 200 live births must provide information regarding the importance of hearing screening to parents and guardians. The law also establishes an advisory committee. In 2003, some provisions of the law related to the disclosure of information were changed. (2003 SB 401)

OR Admin Rules 333-020-0125 et seq. (2000) are the regulations for the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program and covers the requirements for screening facilities, the appointment of an advisory committee and provides for religious exemptions from hearing screening.

Pennsylvania

 

Penn. Stat. 11 § 876-1 et seq. (2001) establish the Infant Hearing Education, Assessment, Reporting and Referral Program. The law specifies the powers and duties of the department of health and provides that newborn screening is not required if the parent objects for any reason. (SB 100)

Puerto Rico

Laws of Puerto Rico Ann. 24 § 3521 et seq. establish the Neonatal Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program, establish an advisory committee to oversee the program and require health insurance coverage for screenings.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen Laws § 23-13-13 (1992) requires that all newborns be screened for hearing unless the parents of the infant object to the screening on religious grounds. The screening is to be a covered benefit reimbursable by all health insurers. The law creates a hearing screening advisory committee that will advise the director of the department of health regarding the validity and cost of testing procedures.

216 R.I. Code R. § 020-05-01 et seq. are the rules and regulations about the Newborn Metabolic, Endocrine, and Hemoglobinopathy Screening Program and Newborn Hearing Loss Screening Program. The rules designate newborn screenings and testing for hearing loss as a covered benefit reimbursable by all health insurers.

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 44-37-40 (2000) enacts the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act and requires newborn hearing screenings to be conducted before discharge for all newborns born in hospitals that average more than 100 deliveries per year. Parents or guardians may object to the screening. The law requires every hospital to provide educational information to the parents of newborns concerning the hearing screening procedure and the importance of the screening. The law also establishes the Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Advisory Council to advise the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on matters related to implementing this act. The department will establish procedures for reimbursement for expenses incurred.

Tennessee

 

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-5-901 et seq. (2008) create "Claire's Law," requiring every newborn infant to be screened for hearing loss before discharge from the birthing facility unless the parents of the child object on religious grounds. The law requires follow-up tests on infants at high risk for hearing loss and requires the results of these tests be reported to the department of health. Any child who does not pass the hearing screening test will be referred to the Tennessee Early Intervention System to provide comprehensive follow-up services.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-7-2508 (2008) provides for coverage for infant hearing screening tests.

Texas

Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. § 47.001 et seq. (1999) require hospitals and birthing centers that offer obstetric services to provide newborn hearing screening before discharge. Parents may object to the screening. Facilities that provide the hearing screenings are also required to provide educational materials and report the results to the parents, the attending physician and the department of health.

Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. § 47.008d (2003) specifies that statistical or aggregated information about activities conducted under this chapter that could not be used to individually identify a newborn, infant, or patient, or a parent or guardian is not confidential.

Texas Insurance Code § 1367.103 requires newborn and infant hearing screening to be covered by insurance.

Tex. Admin. Code § 37.501 et seq. are the newborn hearing screening regulations and covers the responsibilities of the birthing facilities, the health department and the follow-up screening providers.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. 26-10-6 (1998) requires hospitals and other settings with 100 or more live births per year to test newborn infants for hearing loss unless the parent or guardian objects on religious grounds. The law also establishes the Newborn Hearing Screening Committee, which shall test the validity and cost of newborn hearing loss testing procedures.

Utah Admin Code R 398-2-1 et seq. are the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program rules.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 991 (2003) establishes a statewide birth information network designed to identify newborns who have specified health conditions that may respond to early intervention and treatment by the health care system. The commissioner of health is tasked with coordinating existing data systems and records to enhance the network's comprehensiveness and effectiveness, including the universal newborn hearing screening system.

Virginia

Va. Code § 32.1-64.1 (1998) establishes the Virginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System. The law requires all hospitals with neonatal intensive care services, hospitals with newborn nurseries and other birthing places or centers to initiate the system. The law requires that all infants have a hearing screening test and parents may object to the screening. The law also requires an advisory committee to be created to assist in the design, implementation and revision of this identification and monitoring system.

Va. Code § 38.2-3411.4 (2001) requires health insurers, health maintenance organizations and corporations providing subscription contracts for health care coverage to provide coverage for infant hearing screenings and certain other audiological examinations. These requirements were also made applicable to the state's health care coverage plan for state employees and to Medicaid.

Va. Code § 2.2-2818 (B) (12) (2004, 2006) states that specified insurance plans shall include coverage for infant hearing screenings and all necessary audiological examinations and include follow-up audiological tests as recommended by a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or audiologist and performed by a licensed audiologist to confirm the existence or absence of hearing loss.

12 Va. Admin Code § 5-80-10 et seq. are the regulations for administering the Virginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 16-22A-1 et seq. (1998) require that physicians test all newborns by procedures approved by the state for hearing impairments unless parents refuse. The law mandates that all health insurers cover the benefit of newborn hearing screening and that the state pay when the child is eligible for medical assistance. If there is no third-party payer, charges for the testing will be paid by the hospital or other health care facility where the infant's birth occurred. The law also establishes an advisory board to advise on the administration of the program.

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 253.115 (1999) requires the department of health to collect annual data on newborn deliveries in hospitals and the availability of hospital newborn hearing screening programs. If the health department determines that 88% of all deliveries in the state are performed in hospitals that have a newborn hearing screening program, the law requires that every hospital should have a newborn hearing screening program available to all infants.

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 35-4-801 (1999, 2007) requires medical examinations to detect major hearing defects for every child born in the state if the parents do not object. The exam must be given within three to five days of birth for a normal full-term baby and five to eight days of birth for a premature baby. The law was amended in 2007 to create a fee schedule that will be paid to the department of health for infant hearing screenings. (2007 SB 86)

While several states do not require newborn hearing screening by statute, all states and several territories have a newborn hearing screening program.

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management and StateNet.

Note: The list may not be comprehensive but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections.

Additional Resources

  • Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    A membership organization for parents of children with hearing loss, adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, educators, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, physicians, and other professionals in fields related to hearing loss and deafness.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
    AAP’s Program to Enhance the Health & Development of Infants resource on activities that supports the health and development of infants and children.
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    A membership organization working to ensure that all people with speech, language and hearing disorders have access to quality services.
  • Baby’s First Test
    A resource center for newborn screening information, including current educational and family resources about newborn screening at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Hearing Loss Association of America
    The Association seeks to open the world of communication for people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support.
  • National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
    An online resource on hearing loss in children housed by the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
  • March of Dimes
    An organization working to educate health care professionals about best practices in perinatal health and raise public awareness about cost-effective interventions that can improve birth outcomes, including hearing loss among infants.
  • Maternal and Child Health Bureau
    The Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau resource on Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.
  • National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM)
    Housed at Utah State University, a center working to ensure that all newborns and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational and medical intervention.

This webpage is supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U1XMC31659-02-00, Supporting State Maternal and Child Health Policy Innovation Program. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

HRSA Logo