1997 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Representatives Holden, Ford, Horne
House Bill 1209
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A PROGRAM OF REGISTRATION OF NEWBORNS, INFANTS AND TODDLERS WHO SUFFER FROM IMPAIRED HEARING; TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL MAINTAIN THE REGISTRY; TO REQUIRE HOSPITALS AND OTHER PROVIDERS THAT HAVE ESTABLISHED HEARING SCREENING PROCEDURES FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS TO REPORT TO THE DEPARTMENT THE EXISTENCE OF INFANTS AND TODDLERS WHO FAIL TO PASS HEARING SCREENING PROCEDURES; TO PROVIDE THAT INFORMATION IN THE REGISTRY SHALL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL; TO PROVIDE THAT FAMILIES OF ALL REGISTRANTS WILL BE PROVIDED INFORMATION ON THE AVAILABILITY OF SERVICES IN THE STATE FOR CHILDREN WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE FACILITATION OF REPORTING TO THE REGISTRY; TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH TO ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL IMMUNITY FOR CERTAIN PERSONS WHO ACT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL PROVIDE FISCAL SUPPORT TO THE DEPARTMENT TO ASSURE THE BEST POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS IDENTIFIED THROUGH THE REGISTRATION PROGRAM; TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-23-151 AND 41-87-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PRECEDING PROVISIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health, American Audiology Association, and others who have completed extensive research on early identification of children with hearing loss, the Legislature finds an urgent need to establish an early identification system and a comprehensive service delivery system of developmentally appropriate services for infants and toddlers with hearing impairments and their families.
SECTION 2. (1) There is established a program of registration of newborns, infants and toddlers in the State of Mississippi who suffer from impaired hearing. It is the purpose of this program to:
(a) Identify such children near birth in order that they and their parents or caregivers may be assisted in obtaining education, training, medical, diagnostic and therapeutic services, and other assistance necessary to enable them to become productive citizens of the state;
(b) Provide the state with the information necessary to effectively plan and establish a comprehensive system of developmentally appropriate services for deaf and hearing impaired infants and toddlers; and
(c) Reduce the likelihood of secondary disabling conditions for such children.
(2) The State Department of Health, as "lead agency" for the implementation of Part H of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and in accordance with the provisions of the Early Intervention Act for Infants and Toddlers (Section 41-87-3 through Section 41-87-19), shall maintain the Infant and Toddler Hearing Impaired Registry. The State Part H Coordinator is designated as the director of the registration program and is charged with its administration. The State Part H Coordinator may designate a staff person (or persons) to carry out the provisions of this section. All hospitals in the state and other providers of services that have established hearing screening procedures for infants and toddlers ages birth through two (2) shall report to the State Part H Coordinator the existence of infants and toddlers who fail to pass hearing screening procedures. The information compiled and maintained in the registry shall be kept confidential in accordance with the applicable requirements and provisions of the Early Intervention Act for Infants and Toddlers (Section 41-87-3 through Section 41-87-19) and Part H of IDEA. Families of all registrants will be provided information on the availability of services in the state for children with hearing impairments, including those provided in accordance with Part H of IDEA through the statewide infant and toddler early intervention system.
(3) The director of the registration program or his or her designee shall facilitate the reporting of infants and toddlers who fail to pass hearing screening by hospitals or any other person or provider of services, as provided in subsection (2) of this section. Reports may be submitted to the registry through the use of prepaid envelopes, sending of facsimiles, or telephone via statewide toll free number. It is the purpose of this subsection to facilitate the reporting of infants and toddlers who may suffer from impaired hearing. The reporting requirements shall be designed to be as simple as possible and easily completed by nonprofessional persons when necessary.
(4) The State Board of Health may adopt rules and regulations that the board considers necessary to implement this section. The board in its rules and regulations shall specify the types of information to be provided to the State Part H Coordinator for the registry. The Department of Health may:
(a) Execute contracts that the department deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this section;
(b) Receive data from medical records for children suspected of having hearing impairments that are in the custody or under the control of laboratories, hospitals, audiologists, physicians, or other health care providers to record and analyze the data related to the child's hearing impairment or suspected hearing impairment;
(c) Compile and publish statistical and other studies derived from the patient data obtained under this section to provide in an accessible form information that is useful to physicians, other medical personnel, the State Department of Education and the general public;
(d) Comply with requirements as necessary to obtain federal funds in the maximum amounts and in the most advantageous portions possible; and
(e) Receive and use gifts made for the purpose of this section.
(5) Data obtained by the establishment of the registry that is taken directly from the medical records of a patient is for the confidential use of the Department of Health and the persons or public or private entities that the department determines are necessary to carry out the intent of the registry. The data is privileged and may not be divulged or made public in a manner that discloses the identity of an individual whose medical records have been used for obtaining data for the registry. Information that may identify an individual whose medical records have been used for obtaining data for this section is not available for public inspection under the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983. Statistical information collected under this section is public information.
(6) The following persons who act in compliance with this section are not civilly or criminally liable for furnishing information required by this section: a hospital, clinical laboratory or other health care facility, an audiologist, an administrator, officer or employee of a hospital or other health care facility, and a physician or employee of a physician.
SECTION 3. (1) The Legislature, knowing that hearing is essential to appropriate language development which is, in turn, directly related to communication skills and the ultimate ability of a child to attain his or her best level of education, and finding limited resources available in the state and few providers qualified to provide developmentally appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic services to infants and toddlers identified through the registration program, finds it necessary to supplement the efforts of the Department of Health as lead agency for the implementation of Part H of IDEA in its efforts to identify and provide developmentally appropriate services to hearing impaired infants and toddlers and their families.
(2) To assure the best possible developmental outcomes for infants and toddlers identified through the registration program, the Legislature shall provide fiscal support to the infant and toddler early intervention program of the Department of Health to:
(a) Establish positions reasonable and appropriate to insure that the provisions of Section 2 of this act are carried out;
(b) Procure additional equipment to achieve universal hearing screening of one hundred percent (100%) of live births;
(c) Procure diagnostic equipment necessary to identify the cause of the child's hearing impairment and plan an appropriate course of therapeutic services;
(d) Assist with the establishment of preservice training programs on the education of hearing impaired children in the colleges and universities of the state;
(e) Assist with in-service training of existing providers of services to the hearing impaired population of the state to increase their skill in providing developmentally appropriate services to infants and toddlers and their families;
(f) Contact directly with individuals identified as qualified providers of services; and
(g) Provide training for appropriate staff of schools and school districts to insure the successful transition of children upon reaching age three (3) from Part H to services under Part B of IDEA through schools across the state or other appropriate services.
SECTION 4. Section 37-23-151, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-23-151. There is * * * established a program of registration of persons not more than twenty-one (21) years of age in the State of Mississippi who suffer from impaired hearing or vision. It is the purpose of such program to identify such persons in order that they may be assisted in obtaining education, training, medical attention and other assistance to enable them to become more productive citizens of the State of Mississippi. The program of registration of newborns, infants and toddlers who suffer from impaired hearing established under Section 2 of this act shall be supplemental to the program established under this section. The State Department of Health shall coordinate the registration programs to the extent possible in order to eliminate or reduce duplication.
SECTION 5. Section 41-87-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-87-11. (1) The lead agency shall have the following responsibilities in the implementation of this chapter:
(a) General administering and supervising programs and activities receiving Part H funds and the monitoring of programs and activities used by the state to carry out this chapter, whether or not such programs or activities are receiving Part H funds, to ensure that the state complies with this chapter;
(b) Identifying and coordinating all available financial resources within the state from federal, state, local and private sources;
(c) Developing procedures to ensure that services are provided to eligible children and their families in a timely manner pending the resolution of any disputes among public agencies or service providers;
(d) Ensuring effective implementation of procedural safeguards by each public agency in the state that is involved in the provision of early intervention services;
(e) Entering into formal interagency agreements that define the financial responsibility of each agency for paying for early intervention services (consistent with other state laws) and procedures for resolving intra- and interagency disputes and that include all additional components necessary to ensure meaningful cooperation;
(f) Entering into contracts with agencies within a local community which have been designated by the lead agency as being a primary service agency within the community;
(g) Developing procedures to ensure that available services are provided to eligible children and their families in a timely manner, pending the resolution of disputes among public agencies or service providers;
(h) Resolving individual disputes in accordance with the regulations;
(i) Adopting and using proper methods of administering each program including:
(i) Monitoring of agencies, institutions and organizations receiving assistance under Part H of Public Law 102-119;
(ii) Enforcing of any obligations imposed on those agencies providing early intervention services according to Public Law 102-119 and the standards of the state;
(iii) Providing technical assistance to agencies in the program;
(iv) Correction of deficiencies that are identified through monitoring;
(j) Establishing state policies related to how services to children eligible under this chapter and their families will be paid for under the state's early intervention system in accordance with federal regulations;
(k) Development of policies, standards and regulations necessary for implementation of the state early intervention plan that are in compliance with the federal regulations; and
(l) Provision of technical assistance to localities in the establishment and operation of local interagency coordinating councils which may also be designated as primary service agencies for an area.
(2) All participating agencies shall cooperate with the lead agency and the council in the implementation of this chapter.
(3) In addition to its responsibilities under this chapter, the lead agency shall administer the registration program for infants and toddlers with hearing impairments established under Section 2 of this act.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.