Public Health Children and Adolescent Health News and Training for Providers

“Hey Baby, Can You Hear Me Now?”

Georgia’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program is a system of care for early identification and intervention of children with congenital hearing impairment. The EHDI Program’s benchmarks are to screen by one month, to diagnose by three months, and to enroll into intervention by 6 months, also known as a 1-3-6 goal.  Children identified as deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) move through a multi-partner system that begins with initial hospital screening and includes two public and multiple private intervention providers in Georgia. Although navigating intervention resources can be challenging for many families with hearing impaired children, studies show intervention beginning as early as six months of age that includes access to communication can positively impact that child’s speech and language development and consequently their ability to learn.

Georgia’s EHDI program is currently monitoring language development of children identified at birth with hearing loss through the 100 Babies Project.  The purpose of the project is to identify and explore factors that influence language development of D/HH children identified through newborn screening, including maternal and social factors, age of intervention, intensity of intervention and home language.  We suspect that not all children in Georgia are meeting language milestones despite being enrolled in early intervention due to maternal and social factors. Although research supports early intervention by six months of age to attain improved development outcomes for deaf and hard of hearing children, vulnerable populations of children may be at greater risk for not meeting language outcomes despite early intervention.  Results from the evaluation are being used to develop and implement strategies so that newborns and infants identified as D/HH do not fall behind their hearing peers.

Currently, the results of this evaluation further support that early identification by three months and early intervention by 6 months for D/HH children have improved outcomes compared to their peers.  The EHDI program is striving to remove barriers to timely identification, reduce referral time into intervention, and promote the importance of intervention for all D/HH children.  As a provider of essential care for children with hearing loss, it is crucial that you ensure families understand the importance of following up on the newborn hearing screen and enrollment of intervention after a possible diagnosis of permanent hearing loss with Georgia’s Part C Program (Babies Can’t Wait).

If you have any questions about newborn hearing screening or 100 Babies, please contact Kelly Dundon, AuD MPH at or 470-283-9259.

TO: Healthcare Submitters and Providers

FROM: The Georgia Department of Public Health, Newborn Screening Program

RE: Newborn Screening Tests and Laboratory Analysis Fee Increase for FY 2017

Summary: During the 2016 legislative session HB751, Item 3052, to provide funds for therapies for children with congenital disorders was passed.  On April 7, 2016, the Department of Public Health published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to amend Department of Public Health Regulation 511-5-5-04, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 31-2A-6 and § 31-12-6(f).  As outlined in a memo sent out on July 1, 2016, The Georgia Department of Public Health, Newborn Screening Program proposed a fee increase from $50.00 to $63.00 to cover the Department’s actual cost associated with newborn screening.  This fee increase will enable the Department to screen for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, a new critical condition added to the newborn screening panel, as well as provide therapies for children with congenital disorders.

Steps to Final Adoption: The fee increase has been approved by DPH as outlined in a memo sent out on July 1, 2016.  At their September 8, 2016, meeting the Department of Community Health (DCH) board voted for final adoption of a rate increase to reimburse Medicaid providers for the new fee amount. The next step in the approval process is for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide approval.  Upon final approval from CMS and DCH, the fee increase will be universally adopted for newborn screening specimen collection in the state of Georgia. We will send a letter of notification, which will also include an effective date.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact Judith Kerr, Interim Child Health Screening Program Manager at (404) 657-2878 or

Out of the Mouths of Babes – How Family Physicians Can Ease the Child Dental Crisis in Georgia

A family physician or pediatrician typically sees a child and their family about 13 times for routine checkups and vaccinations.  Each of these visits presents an opportunity for you and your clinical staff to review risk factors for oral disease.  In the U.S., tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood, five times more common than asthma.  Research has shown that from 1994-2004, 28 percent of 2-5 year-olds experience tooth decay.  Which is an increase of 15 percent from the prior decades.  We also know that if family has poor oral health status, so will their children.

What Can Family Physicians Do to Turn a Frown Upside Down for Our Children?

For all children and their families it’s important to educate them and hit these main points:

  • Educate parents about good oral health habits for them and their children
  • Explain why primary teeth are important
  • Encourage that they brush teeth regularly with a smear of fluoridated toothpaste
  • Encourage regular dental visits
  • Outline proper dietary habits

Start providing fluoride varnish application in your practice!

Effective 2015, physicians can offer this service to Medicaid children with a new CPT code 99188.  Georgia’s Department of Public Health has a small staff dedicated to expanding fluoride varnish in primary care physicians’ offices around the State.  Please see the contact below and consider adding this benefit to your practice.  For more information, please outreach to the following:

Carol C. Smith, RDH, MSHA, Director of Oral Health

Maternal and Child Health

Georgia Department of Public Health

2 Peachtree Street, 11-222

Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3142

Phone 404-657-3138

Fax: 404-657-7307

Upcoming Public Health Webinars

Adult Disability Medical Home (ADMH) – Transitioning from pediatric to adult healthcare

Join us for a webinar on May 24, 2017 at 1:15 PM EDT.

Register now!


Out of the Mouths of Babes – How Family Physicians Can Ease the Child Dental Crisis in Georgia

Join us for a webinar on May 31, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Register now!

Georgia Shape 

Under the leadership of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Georgia SHAPE is a network of partners, agencies and athletic teams committed to improving the health of Georgia’s young people by offering assistance and opportunity to achieve a greater level of overall fitness. Click here to learn more about Georgia Shape.

Low THC Oil Registry

Department of Public Health (DPH), in close consultation with the Georgia Composite Medical Board, has developed a Low THC Oil Registry for patients and caregivers who qualify to carry an identification card under Georgia House Bill 1.

What diseases are covered by the law?

The law lists eight diseases which qualify for the Low THC Oil Registry:

(1) cancer, when the disease has reached end stage, or the treatment produces related wasting illness, recalcitrant nausea and vomiting;
(2) seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries;
(3) severe or end stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease);
(4) severe or end stage multiple sclerosis,
(5) severe or end stage Parkinson’s disease;
(6) severe or end stage sickle cell disease;
(7) Crohn’s disease; and (8) mitochondrial disease