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NCHAM: National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, Utah State University

Last Modified: 06/06/2011

EHDI Legislation Becomes Law

In December 2010 the United States Senate and the House of Representatives each voted to approve the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010 (HR. 1246, S. 3199). President Obama signed the legislation into law on December 22nd.

During the legislative process, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, issued the following statement about the legislation:

The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010:

Amends the Public Health Service Act to: (1) expand the newborn and infant hearing loss program to include diagnostic services among the services provided; and (2) require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, to assist in the recruitment, retention, education, and training of qualified personnel and health care providers to implement the program.

Revises program purposes to include: (1) developing and monitoring the efficacy of statewide programs and systems for hearing screening of newborns and infants, prompt evaluation and diagnosis of children referred from screening programs, and appropriate education, audiological, and medical interventions for children identified with hearing loss; (2) developing efficient models to ensure that newborns and infants who are identified with a hearing loss through screening receive follow-up by a qualified healthcare provider; and (3) ensuring an adequate supply of qualified personnel to meet the screening, evaluation, and early intervention needs of children.

Amends the definition of "early intervention" to require that families be given the opportunity to obtain the full range of appropriate early intervention services, educational and program placements, and other options for their child from highly qualified providers.

Requires the Secretary to establish a postdoctoral fellowship program to foster research and development in the area of early hearing detection and intervention.