Journal of Health Care Communications Open Access

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Using Medicaid Data to Improve Newborn Hearing Screening Follow-Up Reporting: Results from a Pilot Study

Tri Tran, Hsin-Yu Wang, Jeanette Webb, Mary Jo Smith, Patricia Soto, Terri Ibieta, Melinda Peat and Susan Berry

Objectives: The study aimed to determine if newborns received follow-up services by Medicaid audiologists or physicians after a failed hearing screening but were reported as loss to follow-up (LTF) or loss to documentation (LTD).

Methods: The study data included children born in 2012 who failed newborn hearing screening before hospital discharge and were reported as LTF / LTD. The data were linked to Medicaid data with service dates in 2012 and 2013. Matched records were used for follow-up verification.

Results: Among 682 records reported as LTF / LTD, 57 records were matched with Medicaid data. Of those, 38 records (21 LTF and 17 LTD) were used to verify follow-up status. After contacting the provider offices, follow-up status of 37 children was confirmed; testing results of 34 children were received. By reviewing testing results and verifying follow-up status, 12 children defined previously as LTF became "completed follow-up" and 13 children defined previously as LTD became "completed follow-up"; the percentage of improvement of follow-up reporting was 4% (25/638). One of the main reasons for not reporting follow-up was that providers and staff were unaware that they should report.

Conclusions: Physicians and audiologists who conducted follow-up testing did not always report results to Louisiana Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (LA EHDI). Routine linkage of Medicaid data coupled with follow-up verification can enhance the quality of newborn hearing screening follow-up reporting and improve communication between EHDI programs and follow-up providers.