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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 21, 2017 03:04 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Updating the Newborn Child Testing Act and Creating the Newborn Child Screening Program Account
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to update the way Pennsylvania pays for and operates its Newborn Child Screening and Follow-up Program.

You may recall that my legislation (Act 148 of 2014), which expanded the list of required diseases for testing from 6 to 12, became law in October of 2014. Although Act 148 was signed into law and additional funding for newborn screening was provided in the last two budgets, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has yet to fully implement the law.

Act 148 of 2014 had unanimous support in both the House and Senate as well as the support of Gov. Corbett. I am very concerned about the department’s unwillingness to follow the laws that we as a legislature have passed. Furthermore, I believe it is extremely dangerous for this newborn screening to not be done when Pennsylvania families believe their newborns are being tested. This is extremely damaging to families and also opens the Commonwealth up to legal ramifications.

For more than two years, I have worked with the department, stakeholders and families to find a solution to this problem. The result of that work is this legislation, with which I believe contains components that everyone involved can be happy. My bill will merge the mandatory and supplemental disorder lists so that every baby in Pennsylvania will be screened for every recommended disorder, and will create a funding mechanism in the form of a fee for service, included in the overall cost of giving birth, and therefore will save the state money.

With the governor’s plan to streamline state human services under the umbrella of one new Department of Health and Human Services, I think that my legislation is timely in that it will modernize Pennsylvania’s Newborn Child Screening and Follow-up Program and provide a funding source at no additional cost to the Commonwealth.

I ask that you join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to ensure that efficiency in services and the health of our newborn children remains top priorities in Pennsylvania.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925

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Introduced as HB1081