State Assembly passes bill to strengthen newborn screenings - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State Assembly passes bill to strengthen newborn screenings

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin State Assembly passed legislation Thursday to expand the authority of the newborn screening program.

The American Heart Association says Senate Bill 523 opens the door for newborns to be screened for life-threatening congenital heart defects.

It passed in the Senate on Tuesday.

The AHA says nearly 1 in 100 babies are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) and a quarter of those can be life-threatening if not detected soon after delivery.

In September 2011, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebilius recommended that all states consider adding a critical congenital heart defect screening, or pulse oximetry test, to their newborn screening programs.

Since that time, over half the country has added it.

Here in Wisconsin, our newborn screening program has not been able to add it because its authority to add newborn screenings is limited to tests that can be done using the baby’s blood or urine.

The bill now heads to Governor Scott Walker.
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