Delaware’s governor, Jack Markell, has signed into law two pieces of legislation. One law provides telecommunications services for the deaf and those with hearing loss or speech disabilities. The other law updates the state’s Universal Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening Act.
Senate Bill #248 provides persons who have deafness, hearing loss, or speech disabilities with telecommunications service for analog communications devices. Delaware is the only state that does not provide such service. The new law also creates a funding mechanism for relay service for those with hearing loss or speech disabilities.
The second law, House Bill #384 w/HA1, updates the Universal Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening Act. Provisions will now require tracking and intervention protocols by health care workers. In addition, hospitals are now required to give families with newborns information on early intervention and treatment for deafness and hearing loss.
The law also creates the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Board. This new body will advise state officials on issues relating to the newborn hearing evaluation, intervention, treatment, and follow-up care for infants and children with hearing loss. The board’s 11 members will be appointed by Governor Markell and serve 3-year terms that are renewable.
SOURCE: State of Delaware