Maine Newborn Hearing Program Advisory Board

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These guidelines shall set forth guidance pertaining to the Maine Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Board. The Maine Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Board as established in Title 5, Section 12004-G, Subsection 14-C, is created to provide oversight and advice to the Maine Newborn Hearing Screening Program. In the event of a conflict between these guidelines and governing Maine statutes, common law or rules, the latter shall control.

Section 1. Definitions.  As used in these guidelines, the following terms have the following meanings: 

  • Board”means the Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Board.
  • Hearing Loss means a hearing loss of 30 decibels or more in the frequency region important for speech recognition and comprehension in one or both ears. The Department may adopt rules to decrease the amount of decibels of hearing loss as technology allows for detection of hearing loss of 16to 25 decibels in one or both ears.
  • “Person who is culturally Deaf” means a person with permanent hearing loss who identifies as a member of the Deaf community and who utilizes American Sign Language as the primary mode of communication.
  • Person who is hard-of-hearing” or “person who is deaf” means a person with permanent hearing loss who communicates using aural or oral skills for accessing spoken language.
  • Parent means a natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian or other legal custodian of a child.
  • Intervention” or “Treatment”means the early intervention services described in the Maine Department of Education regulation, Chapter 101. “Intervention” or “Treatment” includes, but is not limited to, audiological, medical, or early educational services that provide a choice of methods of communications in a variety of sensory modalities.
  • The Department” means program leadership, management or staff from the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Newborn Hearing Program.
  • Oversight” means recommendations reached by a modified consensus decision-making process regarding development, implementation and evaluation of the Maine Newborn Hearing Program.
  • “Advice” means providing expertise and recommendations for the development, implementation and ongoing administration of the Maine Newborn Hearing Program.
  • Modified Consensus



Section 2.  Composition of the Maine Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Board.  The Board will consist of an odd number of members with a minimum of 15 members. The membership of the Board will be appointed by the Governor to include, but not limited to, the following composition.

  • Service Providers

An audiologist, a physician, a speech-language pathologist, a nurse, a certified teacher of the deaf, and a person who provides early intervention services to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing through the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

  • Consumers

A person who is culturally Deaf, a person who is hard-of-hearing or deaf, a parent of a child who is culturally Deaf, a parent of a child who is hard-of-hearing or deaf and a parent of a hearing child.

  • Administrative Providers

A representative of hospitals, a representative of health carriers, a representative of the Child Development Services System and a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services.



Section 3.  Duties.  The Board shall perform the following duties:
  • The Board shall oversee the program and advise the Commissioner of Human Services on issues relating to the program and recommend procedures for hearing screening, evaluation, treatment and intervention services.
  • The Board shall report each year on the program to the joint standing committees of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human service matters and education matters. The report shall include the percentages of children being screened and evaluated and the number of children being offered and receiving intervention and treatment services. The report shall be made available to the public.

Please note: The Maine Newborn Hearing Screening Program will give a high degree of consideration to the Advisory Board’s recommendations on program policies and activities. The final decision for program policies and activities resides within the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Newborn Screening Program administration.



Section 4.  Membership Guidelines.  The following details will guide the Board Membership:
  • The Board shall consist of a minimum of 15 members.  No person shall be excluded for membership on this Board by reasons of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.  A person must have attained the age of 18 to be eligible to serve as a member of this Board. 
  • Additional Board members may be recommended for appointment at the discretion of the Board members.  
  • Terms of Services:

1) Advisory Board members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The following additional suggestions for membership guidelines may not supersede the Governor’s authority as the sole appointing authority: Board Members will be appointed for a two-year commitment, which may be renewable at the discretion of the Board and the Department. Advisory Board members may serve up to twelve consecutive years. After serving twelve consecutive years, a representative may not serve on the Board for at least one full year. In the event that there are no other available representatives for a specific membership position, this term limit may be waived at the discretion of the Board and the Department.

  • In the event that a vacancy occurs during the term of commitment, the Board position will be filled in the same manner as it was originally filled for the expired term. Consideration of recommendations from members of the Advisory Board and the Department will be made.
  • Any member of the Advisory Board, regardless of the category of his/her membership, may forfeit such membership on the Board after absence from two meetings in one year, without reasonable explanation. Board members are expected to notify the chairperson or Department staff in the event of an anticipated absence.
  • Membership responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following: forward potential agenda items to the chairperson, actively participate in Board meetings and activities, provide input to the Board on community needs and concerns, and work towards agreement on recommendations for goals, strategies and activities.
  • It is the responsibility of each member to declare any conflict of interest that may arise during the discussions of the Board. When such a conflict occurs, the member may provide input into discussions but will abstain from any vote or motion.
  •    The decision making process will be determined by a modified consensus.


Section 5.  Meetings.

  • Regular Advisory Board meetings: The Advisory Board will meet no less frequently than annually at a time and place announced at least six weeks prior to the meeting.
  • Attendance at Advisory Board meetings of general public: All Board meetings are open to the public and any person may attend scheduled Board meetings. Interested persons will not have any voting privileges but may provide input and/or comment upon recognition by the chairperson. A period of time shall be set aside for such input/comments at each scheduled Advisory Board meeting.
  • Special Advisory Board meetings: the chairperson may call a special Board meeting. The chairperson will call a special meeting, if requested to do so in writing, by no less than 20% of the Advisory Board Membership.
  • Quorum Requirements: At every meeting of the Advisory Board, no less than 50% of the voting members are required to make a quorum. In the event that a quorum of members is not reached, a meeting may be convened. General discussion of the agenda may take place and minutes will be taken but voting will be deferred until a meeting with a quorum of members is convened.
  • Order of Business: General discussion of agenda items will be in the order of the announced agenda.
  • Voting:  After general discussion of agenda items, the Advisory Board members will vote on issues at hand by indicating agreement, dissent, agreement with reservations, or abstention by a show of hands. The chairperson will state the issue at hand and call for votes. The chairperson will ask for votes in the following order: All opposed, all in agreement but with reservations, all in agreement, all abstaining. In the event that any Advisory Board members are opposed, the group will move back to a general discussion of the issue. After general discussion, the chairperson will call for votes. If a modified consensus cannot be reached in a reasonable period of time, then the chairperson or any Advisory Board member may make a request to close the discussion at this time. The issue at hand will be placed on the agenda of the next meeting. The note taker will record each Advisory Board member’s vote and document this in the minutes of each meeting.
  • Funding: The Department will provide funding for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred to attend Board meetings but Board members are not entitled to per diem payments. 
  • Staffing: The Department will provide financial and staff support for the Board meetings, which will include funds for interpreter services and special accommodations as needed. It will be the responsibility of the Department to arrange for interpreter services or special accommodations appropriate to members needs at scheduled meetings. Staff members will be assigned the roles of moderator, scribe and note taker.
  • Minutes: Minutes of meetings will be recorded for each meeting by the Maine Newborn Hearing Program staff. Documented minutes of each meeting will be mailed within one month of each meeting by regular postal mail and e-mail. All minutes of each meeting will be kept on file at the Maine Newborn Hearing Program. Minutes of the meetings will be available to the public upon written request to the Program.


Section 6.  Offices.

  • Selection: At the annual meeting of the Advisory Board, the membership will elect a chairperson, and co-chairperson. No person who is not present may be elected to an office unless he/she has expressed in writing a willingness to serve if elected. The following are description of typical duties of each office:

Chairperson: Duties may include, but are not limited to, calling the meeting to order, presiding over the meetings, conducting the meeting in accordance with the agenda, recognizing speakers by name, eliciting input and votes on an issue at hand, determining when a modified consensus of the members has been reached, development of the meeting agendas, calling any special meetings.

Co-chairperson: Duties may include, but are not limited to, assisting the chairperson in the performance of his/her duties and will perform the duties of the chairperson in his/her absence.  The co-chairperson will assume the responsibilities of the chairperson after serving out the elected term.


Section 7.  Ground Rules

  • The following ground rules will guide the Advisory Board members and any interested citizens during meetings.
  • Encourage 100% participation.
  • Use active listening.
  • Be open to learning.
  • Recognize, appreciate and value other people’s efforts and opinions.
  • Encourage different points of view.
  • Give feedback.
  • Avoid side discussions except for clarification purposes.
  • Observe technology courtesy (i.e., cell phones and beepers on vibrate, exit room to conduct phone conversations).
  • Signal desire to speak by raising of hand. Wait for recognition by chairperson before beginning to speak.
  • Chairperson will recognize speakers by name in order of first to raise hand, second, etc.
  • Moderator will note order of speakers and communicate this to chairperson.
  • Avoid interrupting current speaker.
  • Begin and end meetings on time.
  • Decisions made by a modified consensus process.
  • Avoid jargon.


2010 Maine Newborn Hearing Advisory Board Meetings

Senator Inn and Conference Center
284 Western Avenue
Augusta, ME 04330

in the Executive Board Room 12PM-4PM


Wednesday, March 10th
Friday, June 11th
Wednesday, September 15th
Friday, December 3rd

Maine Newborn Hearing Program Advisory Board Members
January 2010

Eileen Peterson (appointed 2005)

Stephen Meister (applied 2010)

Speech-Language Pathologist
Louise Packness (appointed 2002)


Certified Teacher of the Deaf 
Karen Perry (appointed 2007)

ECFS EI Service Provider
Karen Hopkins (appointed 2002)

Culturally Deaf person

Hard-of-Hearing or deaf Person
Romy Spitz (appointed 2002)

Parent of a Child who is culturally Deaf


Parent of a Hard-of-Hearing or deaf Child
Jennifer Libby (appointed 2009)

Parent of a Hearing Child
Kristen Shorey (appointed 2002)

Representative of the Hospitals
Annette Bowman (appointed 2007)

Representative of Health Insurance Carriers
Karen Harrison (appointed 2007)

Representative of CDS
Cindy Brown (appointed 2007)Chairperson
Gail Donahue (applied 2010)

Representative of the Department
Lisa Sockabasin (appointed 2009)


Carrie Chojnowski (appointed 2005) Co-chair
Harriet Gray (appointed 2007)
Matthew Hearst (appointed 2009)
Bethany Picker (applied 2010)


Minutes PDF* form (*free viewer)

2010 March June Sept. Dec.
2009 Feb. May Sept. Dec.
2008 March May Sept. Dec.
2007 March June Sept.