February 26-28, 2017 • Atlanta, GA


  |  Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome and Newborn Hearing Screening

Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome and Newborn Hearing Screening

Currently, certain areas of Montana are being effected by Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS). A data analysis of Montana's birthing facilities showed a higher than average refer rate in areas with known maternal drug use. During Quality Assurance visits to hospitals in these areas, EHDI staff was repeatedly asked about screening NOWS babies. Our project aim was to reduce the lost to follow up in areas with a high number of Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome infants. The Montana EHDI program worked with local nurses and the March of Dimes to consider solutions to the problem of screening babies that present with symptoms of drug withdrawal. A quality improvement approach was used to test the solutions. The objective was twofold: to put reduce the lost to follow up rate for the targeted hospitals; and to educate and ease the burden of nurses working with this difficult situation. In addition to the screening data, this presentation will show the techniques used to screen infants that are born drug addicted as well as the cultural barriers faced by the Montana EHDI program. This information will be helpful to states struggling with babies that are unscreenable due to drug withdrawal symptoms. Attendees will leave with the tools on how to replicate these efforts in their states.

  • Learn about the barriers to screening a drug effected newborn.
  • Apply techniques for screening in areas with a high rates of NOWS
  • Integrating Quality Improvement into real world LTFU issues

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CART transcripts are NOT YET available, but will be posted shortly after the conference


Amber Bell (), Montana Dept of Public Health and Human Services, abell@mt.gov;
Amber Bell is the program coordinator for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Universal Newborn Screening Program. She is also the program coordinator for the Montana Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening Program. She has 9 years of experience in public health. She has a strong passion for ensuring that all children receive equal access to health screenings for the best possible outcomes.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.

Marlene Stegmeier (), March of Dimes, nicumar27@gmail.com;
Marlene Stegmeier is a retired NICU nurse. After dedicating almost three decades to the care of infants, she now is a volunteer for the Montana March of Dimes.


Financial -

Nonfinancial -