Boro hospitals get $200G for baby hearing program

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Queens maternity hospitals received more than $200,000 from Gov. George Pataki last week as part of the $3 million in funds he allocated to support newborn hearing screening programs.

New York’s Newborn Hearing Screening program, which has been up and running since October 2001, screens infants for hearing loss. From Oct. 20 until Dec. 31, 2001, 85 percent of the infants born in New York hospital and birthing centers were screened, which is well above the national average of 69 percent.

“New York has taken great strides to ensure that every child has access to the very best health care,” Pataki said. “The funding announced today will build on our record of achievement with New York’s Child Health Plus program by ensuring that thousands of newborns across the state receive these critically important screening tests.”

On average three out of 1,000 babies suffer from hearing loss, which makes it the most common birth defect.

Nine Queens hospitals received a total of $238,449.87.

State Health Commissioner Antonia Novello said that early identification and intervention is vital to minimize the effect of hearing loss on the development of language and communication skills needed to support learning.

“Under Gov. Pataki’s leadership, New York will lead the way by providing critical funding to ensure that newborns are screened and, if necessary, receive treatment for hearing ailments,” he said. “Unlike the rest of the country, where more than half of the birthing hospitals do not screen hearing for babies prior to discharge, the governor has made sure New York facilities are receiving the funds they need to administer screening to newborns.”

He said the state is on target with the national Early Hearing Detection and Intervention goals. The program hopes to screen all infants by one month of age, identify hearing loss by three months and have help in place by the time the child is six months old.

“Children with hearing problems often have delayed speech and language development, which leads to lower academic achievement and social and emotional difficulties,” said state Sen. Serfin Maltese (R-Ridgewood). “By identifying children who have significant hearing disabilities and initiating early intervention, the need for extensive special education services later in life is greatly reduced.”

The hospitals receiving funds are:

• Long Island Jewish Medical Center — $45,659.23

• City Hospital Center at Elmhurst — $36,895.88

• Jamaica Medical Center — $28,778.51

• SVCMC-St. John’s Queens — $25,386.95

• New York Hospital @ Medical Center Queens — $24,141.80

• Flushing Hospital Medical Center — $23,104.17

• Wycoff Heights Medical Center — $19,967.57

• Queens Hospital Center — $18,941.80

• North Shore University Hospital at Forest Hills — $15,573.96

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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