Bill would require heart screenings for newborns

Posted Oct. 05, 2011, at 5:20 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Democratic lawmaker is hoping to introduce a bill that would require heart screenings for all newborns.

Rep. Henry Beck of Waterville says his bill, if admitted for the 2012 session and enacted, would help ensure that Maine babies no longer suffer from undiagnosed heart defects.

The bill would require that all facilities that provide birthing services administer a pulse oximetry test to all newborns. While some facilities currently administer the test, it is not required by law. Beck says many facilities still rely on older, less effective tests.

The proposal is modeled after a similar law recently enacted in New Jersey.

In order for Beck’s proposal to be considered, it would have to be admitted by the Republican-controlled Legislative Council, which meets Oct. 24.

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