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Pediatrix Medical Group Hearing Screen Leader Wins Businesswoman of the Year Award

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct 16, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Gail Lim, vice president and national director of Pediatrix Medical Group's Newborn Hearing Screen Program, was named "BusinessWoman of the Year for Corporate Executive/Professional Services" by South Florida Business Journal. The award recognizes her role as an effective newborn health advocate who spearheaded the company's hearing screen program. Annually the program screens more than 200,000 of the four million babies born in the U.S.

Ms. Lim started Pediatrix's newborn hearing screen program in 1994, one year after joining the company as a neonatal nurse practitioner. In addition to her corporate role heading the nation's largest hearing screen program, she is a leading proponent for early identification of hearing loss. Significant hearing loss is one of the most common major abnormalities present at birth and if undetected, will impede speech, language, and cognitive development. Occurring in three out of every 1,000 babies born each day, the impairment can easily be overlooked. Since the most critical years for speech and language development are birth through age three, a simple hearing screen that takes about 15 minutes can change the course of a newborn's life.

"I can't tell you how many times I've talked to families who are grateful their child's hearing problems were detected so early," Says Ms. Lim. "There is such a vast difference in speech between a child who was identified at an early stage and received hearing aids compared to an older child, say age three or four, who may require several years of speech and language therapy. The child identified early will be able to attend mainstream classes, maximize speech and language skills and benefit socially as well."

The award recognized these innovative approaches Ms. Lim has built into the hearing screen program for Pediatrix:

    --  Offering consistent follow-up and expert assistance to
        families who seek diagnostic and treatment services.

    --  Creating one of the nation's largest databases of newborn
        hearing screen data, with HIPAA-compliant, Internet-based
        tracking and analysis of patient outcomes for quality

    --  Conducting nationwide clinical analysis of congenital hearing
        problems to advance the state of perinatal and neonatal care.

    --  Advocating for universal hearing screening and follow-up.
        Pediatrix Medical Group considers universal hearing screens
        the standard of care. Ms. Lim has led the organization's
        efforts to provide every newborn with hearing screening,
        currently mandated in 39 states.

The judging panel also highlighted Ms. Lim's role as a health policy advocate through her leadership in organizations including the national Deafness Research Foundation, State of Florida Hearing Screen Advisory Board, State of Florida Hearing Screen Task Force, and membership in the American Academy of Audiology.

Complementing the Newborn Hearing Screen Program, Pediatrix Medical Group recently acquired the nation's largest independent laboratory for newborn metabolic screening. The lab tests for more than 50 genetic conditions that are potentially manageable if detected early and which, if left undetected, can lead to complications including mental retardation and death.

Newborn screening in general, and hearing and metabolic screening in particular, are of increasing interest among healthcare providers and state and federal healthcare regulators. With many conditions, early detection and successful intervention leads to better quality of life for patients while having a direct impact on reducing overall healthcare costs.

About Pediatrix Medical Group

Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc., was founded in 1979 (NYSE:PDX) as a neonatal physician group and has expanded to become the nation's largest provider of maternal-fetal-newborn care. The company's neonatal physicians provide services at more than 200 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), and through its affiliate Obstetrix, its perinatal physicians provide services in many markets where Pediatrix's neonatal physicians practice. Combined, Pediatrix and its affiliated professional corporations employ more than 635 physicians in 30 states and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE: Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc.

Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc., Fort Lauderdale
Cynthia Dillon, 954-384-0175, x-5684