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California Summary of Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Legislation
Issue Excerpts from Legislation/Rules & Regulations
Year Passed 1998; revised 2006 AB2780 (1998); AB 2651 (2006)
Implementation by:
Jan 1, 2008 

Statute: Sec. 5
Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, of this act shall become operative on January 1, 2008.

Source: AB 2651
Screening of:
All babies

Statute: Sec. 1
SECTION 1. Section 124116.5 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read: 124116.5. (a) (1) Every general acute care hospital with licensed perinatal services in this state shall administer to every newborn, upon birth admission a hearing screening test for the identification of hearing loss, using protocols approved by the department or its designee…
(c) Every general acute care hospital that has not been approved by the California Children Services (CCS) program and that has licensed perinatal services that provides care in less than 100 births annually shall, if it does not directly provide a hearing screening test, enter into an agreement with an outpatient infant hearing screening provider certified by the department to provide hearing screening tests.

Source: AB 2651


Advisory Committee
Covered Benefit of Health Insurance? Medicaid  Statute: Sec.23. 124117. The department or its designee shall approve hospitals for participation as newborn hearing screening providers. These facilities shall then receive payment from the department for the newborn hearing screening services provided to newborns and infants eligible for the Medi-Cal or CCS programs in accordance with this article.

Source: AB2780, 1998

Report to
State DOH
Provision of

Statute: Sec. 1, (2)
(2) In order to meet the department’s certification criteria, a general acute care hospital shall be responsible for developing a screening program that provides competent hearing screening, utilizes appropriate staff and equipment for administering the testing, completes the testing prior to the newborn’s discharge from a newborn nursery unit, refers infants with abnormal screening results, maintains and reports data as required by the department, and provides physician and family-parent education…
Sec. 3, (c)
(c) Each center shall be required to develop a system that shall provide
outreach and education to hospitals in its catchment area, approve
hospitals on behalf of the department for participation as newborn hearing screening providers, maintain a database of all newborns and infants screened in the catchment area, ensure appropriate followup for newborns and infants with an abnormal hearing screening, including diagnostic evaluation and referral to intervention services programs if the newborn or infant is found to have a hearing loss, and provide coordination with the CCS and local early intervention programs as defined in Title 14 (commencing with Section 95000) of the Government Code.

Source: AB 2651


Informed Consent by Parents? Yes 

Statute: Sec.23. 124120.5. A newborn hearing screening test shall not be performed without the written consent of the parent.

Source: AB2780, 1998
Liability Immunity? Yes

Statute: Sec. 4, (g)

(g) A health facility, clinical laboratory, audiologist, physician, registered nurse, or any other officer or employee of a health facility or laboratory or employee of an audiologist or physician, shall not be criminally or civilly liable for furnishing information to the department or its designee pursuant to the requirements of this section.Source: AB 2651
Parental Objection Exclusion? Yes

Statute: Sec. 1, (d)
(d) This section shall not apply to any newborn whose parent or guardian objects to the test on the grounds that the test is in violation of his or her beliefs.

Source: AB 2651
Hearing Impairment Defined? Yes

Definition: Sec.23, 124116, (e)
(e) "Hearing loss" means a hearing loss of 30 decibels or greater in the frequency region important for speech recognition and comprehension in one or both ears (from 500 through 4000 Hz). However, as technology allows for changes to this definition through the detection of less severe hearing loss, the department may modify this definition by regulation.

Source: AB2780, 1998

National Center for Hearing Assessment & Management
Utah State University - 2615 Old Main Hill - Logan, Utah 84322
Tel: 435.797.3584
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