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Developmental Screening

Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life

Approximately 17% or one in six children aged three to 17 in the United States have one or more developmental disabilities, yet less than one-fifth of those children receive early intervention services before three years of age. Pediatricians and pediatric health care providers play a critical role in recognizing children who might be at risk for developmental delays. Developmental surveillance and monitoring should be a component of every preventive care visit. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that all children be screened for developmental, behavioral and social delays using a standardized screening tool during regular well-child visits at nine, 18 and 30 months. Early identification of developmental delays and early intervention are proven to enhance abilities, promote better school performance and increase opportunities for later success in life.

Mandatory reporting for Quality Measure DEV-CH for all states beginning 2024. Quality Measure DEV-CH: Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life will require providers to perform and document developmental screenings for children. Developmental Screenings must be performed utilizing a validated standardized tool. This measure includes three age-specific indicators assessing whether children are screened before or on their first, second or third birthdays. There will be a total of four rates calculated and reported (one rate for each age group and a combined rate).

It is advised that all children should receive developmental screens at recommended intervals using an evidence-based screening tool at nine, 18 and 30 months, or whenever a concern is expressed. Documentation in the medical record must include the following: a note indicating the date on which the test was performed, the standardized tool used and evidence of a screening result or screening score.

View our Aug. 19, 2022 webinar: Developmental Screening in the First Three Years of Life

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