The child’s neuromuscular development should be tracked with a standard
assessment tool such as the Denver Developmental Screening Test. If these
tools are used conscientiously, they can illustrate subtle developmental
problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. They also allow the early
detection of medical problems, such as hearing impairment, that must be
treated promptly to prevent disruption of the child’s development.
The standards of care for pediatric preventive medicine are stringent. The
federal maternal and child health programs set explicit standards for
developmental screening. A physician in private practice cannot justify a lower
standard of care for health assessment than the child would receive in a
community health center or from the local health department.