Heart Defect Screening for Newborns
17, 2014- Howard Ondick
Legislation that would require newborn babies to undergo a screening for
Congenital Heart Defect has passed the Pennsylvania Senate and is now before
the House for final approval.
speaker is Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, a strong supporter of
legislation that would require newborn babies to be screen for structural heart
Bill 1420 creates the Newborn Child Pulse Oximetry Screening Act to require
birthing facilities to perform critical congenital heart defects screenings on
newborns using pulse oximetry, which is a simple oxygen test. The estimated cost is $1 to $4 per screening.
Leach introduced a similar bill three years ago after he was a mother in his
district lost a child due to a cardiac circulatory problem and alerted him to
the need for congenital heart defect screenings.
legislation was amended in the House Human Services Committee to allow for the
use of new technology that may be developed to replace pulse oximetry in the
future. The legislation defines newborns
as a child less than 28 days old. The
bill allows for an exception if a parent or guardian of the newborn dissents on
religious grounds. Under the bill, the
Pennsylvania Department of Health would promulgate regulations.
Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee amended the bill to define
"Health care practitioner" as it is defined in the Health Care
Facilities Act and to clarify that a health care practitioner who delivers a
newborn child somewhere other than in a birthing facility must perform a pulse
oximetry screening within 48 hours of the birth.
measure was passed by the Senate on a vote of 50-0. Because it was amended in the Senate, it now
goes back to the House for final approval. The bill is now before the House Rules Committee and could be voted this
week. Once itís signed into law by the
governor, the legislation will take effect in 90 days.