TMA Support Newborn Hearing Screenings

Written Testimony: House Committee on Public Health
House Bill 1471 by Rep. Jodie Laudenberg
March 20, 2013 

The Texas Medical Association (TMA), representing 47,000 physicians and medical students, supports House Bill 1471 clarifying requirements of Texas’ newborn hearing screening program. Hearing loss affects thousands of Texas families each year. At least two of the 1,100 infants born each day in Texas will have hearing loss or deafness. This bill will help to ensure effective and timely hearing screening for all Texas newborn babies.

The 2011 legislature passed House Bill 411 to guarantee all newborns in Texas have an equal opportunity to receive a hearing screening. TMA appreciates and supports Rep. Jodie Laubenberg’s authorship of  legislation clarifying requirements. We also support the new provision in the bill because it ensures infants discharged within a few hours following birth are referred for a hearing screening at the appropriate time and place.

In addition, we would appreciate consideration of additional language to clarify referral options. This would include the option for referral to a physician for screening. This simple but effective change will help expand access to screening and is an important step toward the goal of universal hearing screening for all newborns.

We appreciate the committee’s work with TMA to address questions related to HB 1471 and stand ready to support passage and to assist with implementation at your request.

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