by: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"The American Academy of Pediatrics applauds the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for yesterday's passage of the
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), which reauthorizes a critical federal program that provides hearing screenings for newborns.
"Every day, about 33 babies are born with hearing loss, making it the most common congenital condition in the United States. Since hearing and learning language are closely linked, infants and children who have undiagnosed hearing loss are at risk of not receiving the language stimulation they need, which can have a detrimental effect on development. Universal screening helps identify infants with hearing loss, which means that pediatricians can act right away to give families the tools and understanding they need to support their child's growth and development. That is why early interventions facilitated through the
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act are so important.
"The HELP Committee also passed another important bill for children, the
Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act, introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), which helps to guarantee that children can receive care the moment they need it by ensuring emergency medical services providers are able to administer lifesaving controlled substances to children before they arrive at the hospital.
"The Academy thanks Sens. Cassidy, Bennet, Portman and Kaine for their work to champion each of these bills and Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) for advancing them through the HELP Committee. The full Senate should pass these critical child health bills without delay."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit
www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.