Call to Action Alert
There will be a hearing on Monday, April 9. 2018 regarding changes in the Healthy Hearts of Babies Act of 2015: Make sure your voice is heard
Currently 49 states and the District of Columbia require pulse ox screening as a part of the newborn screening. This simple test screens for critical CCHD. The District Mayor’s proposal to repeal the Healthy Hearts of Babies Act (2015) and replace it with much weaker standards.
The current law requires all District hospitals to perform CCHD screening using pulse oximetry for all newborns before discharge. Quite simply, this law saves lives. The precise language of that law is essential to preventing newborn deaths from critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) and is currently working to save lives throughout the District of Columbia and across the nation.
The new proposed law only states that CCHD screening occur; it does not specify that “pulse ox” be the method used. This is the critical component to CCHD screening, since “pulse ox” is the medically necessary best practice and standard of care. Although other options for screening (such as prenatal ultrasounds and postnatal physical exams) may successfully detect many heart defects, they cannot diagnose all cases of CCHD. “Pulse ox” screening is an important component and saves lives. Plain and simple.
Pulse oximetry screening is a low-cost, non-invasive and painless bedside diagnostic test that can be completed by a technician in as little as 45 seconds. Pulse oximetry testing is conducted to estimate the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is saturated with oxygen. The presence of low saturation triggers additional testing to detect heart defects or other life-threatening conditions. The test is typically performed between 24-48 hours after birth, with a sensor placed on the skin. It is painless and costs only between $5-10.
If you live in the District of Columbia and are concerned about this change to the legislation, please contact your District representative and voice your concern. You can use the sample social media posts and email template below. You can find their contact information (Including social media accounts) HERE
You can also submit written testimony that will be submitted to the Council by sending your story (Deadline Monday, April 9, 2018 by 12:00 PM ET) to firstname.lastname@example.org