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Neb. lawmakers eye heart screenings for newborns

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013

Spicer said eight out of every 1,000 children born in the U.S. have a form of congenital heart disease. In many cases the disease doesn't create a serious health risk, but 1.2 of every 1,000 children suffer from a life-threatening form of the disease.

Smith said the test costs relatively little and helps avoid costly medical complications for children later in life. Six states have either adopted the screenings for newborns or an in the process of doing so.

The bill would require a panel of experts to develop ways to screen the newborns and develop educational materials. It also would require hospitals to collect and report data about the tests. The combined cost to the state would reach more than $140,000 in the state's next two-year budget, including a one-time expense of $50,000 to develop a record-keeping system.

Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island, a former hospital administrator, questioned the need for collecting the heart-screening data. Spicer said the information may be used to gauge whether the tests are performed effectively.