Approximately 250,000 Newborns Each Year to Have Simple, Non-Invasive Test
The Newborn Coalition, an advocacy and policy organization focused on leveraging health IT and medical technologies to improve newborn and infant health, commends the actions of the New York legislature and Governor Cuomo on the passage and enactment of A2316/S270, the Newborn Heart Screening bill. The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) and state Sen. William Larkin (R-Cornwall-on-Hudson) and will ensure all newborns in the state receive a simple, non-invasive test to help detect critical heart problems before discharge.
Pulse oximetry is a quick, painless test that measures how much oxygen is in the blood, and is an effective tool in detecting congenital heart defects, the most common and deadly birth defect affecting one in every 100 newborns. 25 percent of babies with CHD have very severe defects known as Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD). When administered after 24 hours of age, the screening detects the vast majority of heart problems, and also helps identify other serious conditions in the newborn period, such as infection, pneumonia and pulmonary hypertension.
New York brings the number of states to 30 that have enacted CCHD legislation or statutorily added the screening to the uniform screening panel. It is estimated that 2,500 babies in the state of New York are born each year with a congenital heart defect. “When our efforts began in 2010, the number of U.S. babies screened for heart defects was less than 1/3 of one percent. Today, nearly 1.2 million, or 30 percent are being screened in states, regions and institutions that have added the test. We anticipate that number will more than double by the end of 2013 as additional states with recently enacted laws begin universal screening at their hospitals,” said Annamarie Saarinen, Newborn Coalition co-founder and mother to Eve, diagnosed at 48 hours old with CCHD. “It’s been a privilege to serve with other organizations and parents as advocates, policy leaders and collaborators on this important issue. Every day, babies are being saved.”
The Newborn Coalition and its public and private sector members have been integral in the earliest stages of policy development and adoption of universal newborn heart screening as a public health initiative. Since the Secretary of Health and Human Services recommended all newborns in the U.S. be screened for CCHD in September 2011, the organization has advanced policies, technologies, telehealth and information systems needed to implement the screening throughout the U.S. and in several international countries, helping reduce burdens on healthcare staff while ensuring safe and timely care for newborns.
“Now that CCHD screening is a law in so many states, it is incumbent that public health have the information needed to ensure the quality of its programs and contributions of each and every birthing facility being able to provide care and, most importantly, to ensure every child receives essential services,” said Ken Pool, MD, Newborn Coalition Advisory Board member, and chair of the HL7 Public Health and Emergency committee and federal Structured Data Capture (SDC) committee for the Office of the National Coordinator’s S&I Framework Initiative. Federal public health agencies and state departments of health around the country play a crucial role in training, education and implementation guidance on screening technologies and standards-driven mechanisms for electronic health information exchange.
About the Newborn Coalition
The Newborn Coalition 501(c)(4) (www.newborncoalition.org) and the Newborn Foundation (www.newborn-foundation.org) 501(c)(3) and are among the only multi-national organizations leveraging health IT, medtech and biotechnology innovation to improve outcomes and reduce disparities for newborns. The organizations have created a measurable footprint that supports increased understanding of newborn health issues and risk factors while helping improve access to quality care and resources for the newest, most vulnerable patients through vital research and pilot projects.