Monday, July 14, 2008
House Bill 883, also known as the Newborn Testing Act, signed into law on July 9th, now requires that newborns be screened for 22 genetic disorders as compared to previously requiring only 6. Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UPMC Magee Women's Hospital geneticist Allen Hogge says that the measure will have little effect on Pennsylvania hospitals as nearly all institutions already screened for those diseases as part of a supplemental screening program. He did say that a benefit of the legislation could be that it will aid in coordination of screenings and that the bill will help catch Pennsylvania up with other states that have already enacted similar legislation. Newborn screenings are administered by a heel prick, which collects blood that is then sent to a lab for analysis.