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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 4, 2019 01:44 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Newborn Health Screenings
Imagine giving birth to a healthy baby, only to find out months, or even years, later that your child has a fatal disease. Imagine if that disease could have been prevented by newborn screening and early treatment. Under Pennsylvania’s Newborn Child Screening and Follow-up Program, this horror is a reality for far too many families.

Under current law, the Department of Health operates its Newborn Child Screening and Follow-up Program between two lists: a short list of mandatory screenings and a longer list of optional ones. Some hospitals and families choose to screen for the optional diseases but many do not. This has created a system in which the health of Pennsylvania newborns is dependent on where they are born or whether their parents have knowledge of those diseases.

I attempted to address this issue with Act 148 of 2014 by expanding the list of mandatory screenings, however, the department has yet to fully implement that law due in part to lack of funding. In response, I have worked closely with the department, stakeholders and families over the last four years to find a solution to this problem. The result of that work is my legislation, which will merge the mandatory and supplemental disorder lists so that every baby in Pennsylvania will be screened for every recommended disorder. My bill will also create a funding mechanism in the form of a fee for service, included in the overall cost of giving birth, thus saving state dollars.

I ask that you join me in ensuring that the health of our newborn children becomes a top priority in Pennsylvania and to send the message that we will not allow the department to ignore legislative mandates.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925.

Introduced as HB730