Sen. Ring’s newborn screening bill await final Senate committee approval

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeremy Ring ensuring that newborns would receive a life-saving – but frequently unused – test for congenital heart disease is currently awaiting its final hearing before the Senate Budget Committee.

Senate Bill 1052, Newborn Screening for Congenital Heart Disease which unanimously passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday would ensure that all newborns in Florida receive a pulse-oximetry test. This extremely low cost, fast and effective test would be added to the already 34 disorders screened for in newborns in Florida.

The legislation is sponsored in the House by Representative Ari Porth.

“The Florida Senate is doing the right thing here. These tests can save Floridians money and more importantly help medical professionals save lives” said Sen. Ring. “We have a chance to do something, which for less than the cost of a “Happy Meal” can help families and maybe save some babies.”

Rep. Porth agreed. “February is American Heart Month and more specifically the week of February 7th to 14th is Congenital Heart Disease Awareness week, and March of Dimes week in the Capital,” he said. “The timing of these hearings is a great way to educate people about this critically needed test.”

Congenital Heart Disease is the most common birth defect among newborns and the leading cause of death among newborns within the first year of life. Sadly, up to 50% of cases currently go undiagnosed.

The legislation is supported by the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, Miami Children’s Hospital, and the American College of Physicians and recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and most recently by the Florida Genetics and Newborn Screening Advisory Council.

The legislation earlier cleared the Senate Health Regulation Committee by a unanimous vote. It is still awaiting its first committee action in the House.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.