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§ 876-2. Legislative findings and purpose

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 11 P.S. ChildrenEffective: February 28, 2002

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 11 P.S. Children (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 14. Infant Hearing Education, Assessment, Reporting and Referral (Ihearr) Act (Refs & Annos)
Effective: February 28, 2002
11 P.S. § 876-2
§ 876-2. Legislative findings and purpose
(a) Findings.--The General Assembly finds as follows:
(1) Hearing loss occurs in approximately three newborns and infants per 1,000 born in the United States.
(2) Hearing loss occurs more frequently than any other health condition for which newborn and infant screening is required.
(3) Reliance on either physician observation or parental recognition has not been successful in detecting significant hearing loss, and over 50% of newborns and infants with hearing impairments go undetected until the age of two and a half.
(4) Infants with hearing loss do not develop normal language skills because 80% of a child's language ability is learned by 18 months of age.
(5) The lack of normal language development has a substantial negative effect on a child's cognitive and social development and will interfere with success in school and later in life.
(6) Technology is now available to cost-effectively screen for detection of hearing loss in newborns and infants.
(7) Screening for hearing loss, coupled with early medical, audiological and educational intervention and treatment, has been demonstrated to be highly effective in facilitating a child's normal development.
(8) Children with hearing loss who do not receive early intervention and treatment frequently require the expenditure of public funds for health care and for long-term specialized education services.
(9) An established Statewide system for the provision of early intervention services that can be utilized to further the purposes of this act already exists in this Commonwealth.
(10) Authoritative and respected government and professional groups, including the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Panel, the Healthy People 2000 Report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing comprised of representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and the Council for Education of the Deaf, have recommended that all newborns and infants be screened for hearing loss shortly after birth, with appropriate intervention and treatment begun before six months of age.
(11) Thirty-two states have passed legislation requiring newborn and infant hearing screening for all children born in the state.
(12) The Department of Health has sponsored a successful newborn and infant screening and tracking demonstration initiative since 1999. This initiative has enabled the department to identify the guidelines and protocol necessary for a Statewide universal screening program and reporting system.
(13) Even though more than 30 hospitals in this Commonwealth have demonstrated the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of operating newborn and infant hearing screening programs as part of the standard care of babies born in their facilities, less than 30% of all newborns born in this Commonwealth are currently screened for hearing loss before being released from hospitals.
(b) Purpose.--The purpose of this act is:
(1) to provide infant hearing screening for all newborns born in a hospital or within 30 days of the date of birth for those newborns born outside a hospital to enable these infants and their families to obtain needed comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation, treatment and intervention services at the earliest opportunity and to thus prevent or mitigate the developmental delays and excessive costs associated with late identification of hearing loss; and
(2) to provide the Department of Health with the information necessary to effectively plan, establish, administer and evaluate this comprehensive program of appropriate services for newborns, infants and children who have hearing loss.


2001, Nov. 30, P.L. 849, No. 89, § 2, effective in 90 days.
11 P.S. § 876-2, PA ST 11 P.S. § 876-2
Current through Act 13 of the 2024 Regular Session. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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