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Capitol Health Call
May 14, 2008

Newborn Screening Bill

JAMA. 2008;299(18):2141. doi:10.1001/jama.299.18.2141-a

Congress passed legislation establishing national newborn screening guidelines intended to make comprehensive screening widely available throughout the country.

While not a mandate, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007 (S 1858/HR 3825 [http://thomas.loc.gov]) is intended to increase the use of comprehensive and standardized newborn screening tests. The federal government estimates that annually about 5000 of the 4.1 million US newborns (1 in 800) are born with a potentially severe or lethal condition for which screening and treatment could prevent many or all of the complications. Proponents of the legislation have argued that it is needed as the number of mandated screening tests for newborns at the state level can be as few as 9.