In July 2002, the Board of Human Resources approved a request from the Director of the Division of Public Health, Dr. Kathleen Toomey to add childhood hearing impairment to the state's
Notifiable Disease List.
The mechanisms developed for this reporting will allow for epidemiological surveillance of hearing loss as well as assuring linkage of children needing follow-up with appropriate services. The addition of childhood hearing impairment to the list of reportable conditions was announced in the April 2003 issue of the Georgia Epidemiology Report.
The following conditions are required to be reported to Public Health:
Newborns not passing the initial or follow-up hearing screening (suspected hearing impairment): Newborns not passing a newborn hearing screening are to be reported to the Children 1st coordinator in the child's home health district, using the
Children 1st Screening and Referral Form immediately following screening or at least within 7 calendar days. All information on the form that is known to the screener/evaluator/audiologist should be filled out and submitted.
Children through the age of five (5) years with hearing loss/impairment measured and described by a licensed audiologist, regardless of type or nature, that is or is suspected to be permanent: Hearing loss/impairment is defined as a threshold average of 15 dB or greater between 500Hz - 4000Hz, whether unilateral or bilateral. (For infants and young children for whom pure-tone thresholds cannot be obtained, description of severity of hearing impairment may be based on an age-appropriate protocol.)
Infants and children with initial confirmation/diagnosis of hearing impairment are to be reported by the audiologist and/or physician with knowledge of the hearing impairment within 7 days of confirmation/diagnosis. These reports are to be submitted using the "Surveillance of Hearing Impairment in Infants and Young Children" form to the Children 1st coordinator in the child's home health district.
Submitting the required information for these infants and children is required by Georgia law. Information submitted to the Division of Public Health is by law protected and confidential. The reporting of this information is not in violation of consumer privacy and protection regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).