Health And Human Services Dept. Emphasizes Newborn Screening

An Indiana mandate requiring newborns be screened for heart defects was emphasized by a recent change from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Beginning January 1st, pulse oximetry, a procedure used to identify heart defects, will be part of the standard screening process for all newborns in Indiana hospitals. The new law, passed in the last legislative session, was backed up recently by federal HHS guidelines, which added the procedure to its list of recommended screenings.

Kristine McCormick’s daughter Cora died in infancy from a heart defect she says might have been caught by a pulse oximetry test.  Since then, McCormick has been traveling around the country advocating for the procedure.

“I want people to know that this is more common,” said McCormick, who helped get Indiana’s passed. “I want pregnant women and families and expecting dads to know that it happens, that it affects about 1 in 110 to 100 children.”

Greenwood Senator Brent Waltz sponsored the legislation.  He said it’s important to raise awareness not just among parents with newborns.

“For people who have now that have not had the benefit of pulse oximetry, I would strongly recommend that they have their child tested,” Waltz said.

Waltz said the test costs between $1 and $10.  For newborns, the procedure will be included in standard screenings at no extra charge to parents.

 

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