2006 Code of Virginia § 32.1-64.1 - Virginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System

32.1-64.1. Virginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System.

A. In order to identify hearing loss at the earliest possible age amongnewborns and to provide early intervention for all infants so identified ashaving hearing impairment, the Commissioner shall establish and maintain theVirginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System. This systemshall be for the purpose of identifying and monitoring infants with hearingimpairment to ensure that such infants receive appropriate early interventionthrough treatment, therapy, training and education.

B. The Virginia Hearing Impairment Identification and Monitoring System shallbe initiated in all hospitals with neonatal intensive care services, in allhospitals in the Commonwealth having newborn nurseries, and in other birthingplaces or centers in the Commonwealth having newborn nurseries.

C. In all hospitals with neonatal intensive care services, the chief medicalofficer of such hospitals or his designee shall identify infants at risk ofhearing impairment using criteria established by the Board. Beginning on July1, 1999, all infants shall be given a hearing screening test, regardless ofwhether or not the infant is at risk of hearing impairment, by the chiefmedical officer or his designee using methodology approved by the Board. Thetest shall take place before the infant is discharged from the hospital tothe care of the parent or guardian, or as the Board may by regulation provide.

In all other hospitals and other birthing places or centers, the chiefmedical officer or his designee or the attending practitioner shall identifyinfants at risk of hearing impairment using criteria established by the Board.

D. Beginning on July 1, 2000, the Board shall provide by regulation for thegiving of hearing screening tests for all infants born in all hospitals. TheBoard's regulations shall establish when the testing shall be offered andperformed and procedures for reporting.

An infant whose hearing screening indicates the need for a diagnosticaudiological examination shall be offered such examination at a centerapproved by the Board of Health. As a condition of such approval, suchcenters shall maintain suitable audiological support and medical andeducational referral practices.

E. The Commissioner shall appoint an advisory committee to assist in thedesign, implementation, and revision of this identification and monitoringsystem. The advisory committee shall meet at least four times per year. Achairman shall be elected annually by the advisory committee. The Departmentof Health shall provide support services to the advisory committee. Theadvisory committee shall consist of representatives from relevant groupsincluding, but not limited to, the health insurance industry; physicians,including at least one pediatrician or family practitioner, oneotolaryngologist, and one neonatologist; nurses representing newbornnurseries; audiologists; hearing aid dealers and fitters; teachers of thedeaf and hard-of-hearing; parents of children who are deaf orhard-of-hearing; adults who are deaf or hard-of-hearing; hospitaladministrators; and personnel of appropriate state agencies, including theDepartment of Medical Assistance Services, the Department of Education, andthe Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. The Department of Education,the Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and the Department of MentalHealth, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services shall cooperate withthe Commissioner and the Board in implementing this system.

F. With the assistance of the advisory committee, the Board shall promulgatesuch rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement thisidentification and monitoring system. These rules and regulations shallinclude criteria, including current screening methodology, for theidentification of infants (i) with hearing impairment and (ii) at risk ofhearing impairment and shall include the scope of the information to bereported, reporting forms, screening protocols, appropriate mechanisms forfollow-up, relationships between the identification and monitoring system andother state agency programs or activities and mechanisms for review andevaluation of the activities of the system. The identification and monitoringsystem shall collect the name, address, sex, race, and any other informationdetermined to be pertinent by the Board, regarding infants determined to beat risk of hearing impairment or to have hearing loss.

G. In addition, the Board's regulations shall provide that any person makinga determination that an infant (i) is at risk for hearing impairment, (ii)has failed to pass a hearing screening, or (iii) was not successfully testedshall notify the parent or guardian of the infant, the infant's primary carepractitioner, and the Commissioner.

H. No testing required to be performed or offered by this section shall beperformed if the parents of the infant object to the test based on their bonafide religious convictions.

(1986, c. 419; 1998, cc. 505, 506, 513; 2004, c. 855.)

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