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(J.R.H. 44)

Offered by: Representative Gervais of Enosburg Falls.

Whereas, a significant number of babies are born with hearing loss, and

Whereas, hearing loss has a serious and permanent effect on a child's development, since undetected and untreated hearing loss affects speech and language development as well as social, emotional and academic development, and

Whereas, early identification and intervention before six months of age can result in normal language development by age three, and

Whereas, traditional methods of detecting hearing loss are inadequate, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That it is a goal of Vermont's public health policy to identify Vermont children with hearing loss and provide effective intervention as early as possible, and be it further

Resolved: That the Commissioner of Health is requested to convene a universal screening for newborns advisory commission, composed of appropriate representatives of Vermont's medical, hospital, public health and disability communities, to make an assessment of the components and resources needed to establish, support and manage a statewide system of newborn hearing screening, as part of a comprehensive effort of early identification and intervention of hearing loss, and to report to the general assembly with the commission's findings and recommendations on or before January 1, 2000, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State is directed to transmit this resolution to the Governor, the Commissioner of Health, the Vermont Medical Society and the Vermont Hospital Association.