Bill Would Offer Newborn Testing for Heart Disease

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Hospitals with programs for newborns would have to offer tests for congenital heart disease under a bill approved by the state Senate.

Sen. Elaine Alquist, a Democrat from Santa Clara, says AB1731 would bring California's newborn screening program in line with modern medical standards.

The Senate approved the measure Wednesday on a 26-8 vote, sending it back to the Assembly.

The March of Dimes supports the bill, along with the California Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It says the tests should cost $3 each, but the California Hospital Association says they could cost $10 each.

The association says that could cost hospitals $5 million to test up to 500,000 infants each year.

The bill requires hospitals to offer the screening starting on July 1, 2013.

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