To celebrate 50 years of newborn screenings, awards are presented to the best performing birthing centers that meet or exceed the benchmarks set forth by the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH). These standards reflect accurate screenings of all newborns and consistent electronic reporting of the hearing screening results to ADPH.
“Our nursing staff is very diligent to get accurate and timely hearing screenings on all babies born at Walker Baptist,” said Denice Cotton, director of Women’s Services for Walker Baptist.
According to Cotton, the number of infants identified with a hearing deficiency on the first screening is known as the Refer Rate. When this occurs, nightshift nurses work very hard over the next 24 to 36 hours to re-evaluate the baby for positive changes. In the first days of an infant’s life, the small ear canals will change allowing for a more accurate screening, Cotton said.
The Refer Rate national standard, set by the JCIH, is less than 4 percent for all newborns.
Because the nursing staff at Walker Baptist pays particular attention to these screenings, Walker Baptist has an average Refer Rate of only 1.4 percent. According to ADPH, Walker Baptist has met or exceeded the national goals, seven of the eight months, from January to July for 2013.
“Please join Alabama’s State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson and the ADPH in congratulating the outstanding work performed by the staff in the Women and Baby Center of Walker Baptist,” said Melissa Richardson, of the newborn hearing screening program of the Alabama Department of Public Health.