Tennessee

The State of Tennessee received $350,000 through a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in FY 2021. The funds address childhood lead poisoning prevention and surveillance programmatic activities being conducted from September 30, 2021 to September 29, 2022.

The activities focus on:

  • Ensuring blood lead testing and reporting
  • Enhancing blood lead surveillance
  • Improving linkages to recommended services

To learn more about these efforts in Tennessee, contact the program below.

Tennessee Department of Health
State Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programexternal icon
710 James Robertson Pkwy
64 Andrew Johnson Tower
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 532-8462

Success Story

Establishing a Referral System to Early Intervention Services in Tennessee

Challenge

Traditionally, the Tennessee Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (TN CLPPP) nurse case managers only contacted the primary care providers of children with elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) greater than or equal to 5μ/dL to provide CDC recommended guidelines for follow up blood lead testing. However, they did not have direct contact with early intervention services. Furthermore, TN CLPPP staff were unaware that a child with an elevated BLL greater than or equal to 10μg/dL met the diagnostic criteria for infants and toddlers to be enrolled in the Department of Education’s Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS), as mandated in Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Since 2013, an average of 244 children per year under the age of three had elevated BLLs greater than or equal to 10μg/dL in Tennessee. Children with elevated BLLs may have had limited access to specialized resources, such as early intervention services due to underreporting.

Intervention

TN CLPPP worked with TEIS to develop a protocol for nurse case managers to refer children with confirmatory blood lead tests greater than or equal to 10 μg/dL to TEIS and establish a data exchange procedure that ensures staff from both programs can adequately fulfill and receive each data request.

Through this exchange, TN CLPPP compiles quarterly lists of referrals and submits them to TEIS. Based on the results of the child’s developmental assessment and medical records, TEIS determines if the child is eligible to receive early intervention services through TEIS. Eligible families have the option to enroll their child in the voluntary TEIS program up to the age of three.

Impact

From September 30, 2018, to August 31, 2019, TN CLPPP submitted nine monthly TEIS referral lists, including referrals for 48 children that met diagnostic criteria for early intervention services. Since this collaboration, TEIS staff are more knowledgeable about childhood lead exposure and its toxic effects, and TN CLPPP has established a formal partnership with TEIS to continue referring children.

Funding for this work was made possible in part by the Cooperative Agreement Number [NUE2EH001385] from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The views expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.