Health Groups want to Require Newborn Heart Tests

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Health advocates in Wisconsin are pressuring the state Legislature to pass a bill requiring hospitals to screen all newborns for critical congenital heart disease.

The American Heart Association, March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other infant health advocates are pushing for the bill to require a pulse oximeter test to measure oxygen saturation in a newborn's blood.

The proposal has been introduced in both the state Senate and Assembly but has not been advanced out of committee.

Advocates estimate the cost of screening at $4 per infant, and insurance usually covers the procedure. Because all hospitals already have pulse oximeters, advocates argue the mandate will not add a financial burden on hospitals.

About 80 percent of Wisconsin hospitals already perform the test.

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