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Newborn Screening Bill Passed by Senate

On December 13, the Senate approved, by unanimous consent, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act (S. 1858), after adopting, also by unanimous consent, a substitute amendment by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the bill on November 14 (see The Source, 11/16/07).

The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act would authorize $15 million for FY2008, $15.188 million for FY2009, $15.375 million for FY2010, $15.562 million for FY2011, and $15.75 million for FY2012 for the secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to states and tribal governments to provide continuing medical education, raise public awareness of, and provide technical assistance on, screening newborns for congenital or heritable diseases. The bill also would authorize the same sums for FY2008-2012 for states and tribal governments to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.

Programs to evaluate the effectiveness of newborn screening programs would be authorized at $5 million in FY2008, $5.063 million in FY2009, $5.125 million in FY2010, $5.188 million in FY2011, and $5.25 million in FY2012.

The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborn and Children would be authorized at $1 million in FY2008, $1.013 million in FY2009, $1.025 million in FY2010, $1.038 million in FY2011, and $1.05 million in FY2012. The advisory committee would be required to make evidence-based and peer-reviewed recommendations for screening newborns for “heritable disorders that have the potential to significantly impact public health”; create recommendations for implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of screening activities; establish minimum standards for screening tests and procedures; conduct patient and medical provider education campaigns; and collect surveillance data on newborn screening programs.

The bill would authorize $2.5 million for FY2008, $2.531 million for FY2009, $2.563 million for FY2010, $2.594 million for FY2011, and $2.625 million to develop an Internet-based information clearinghouse on newborn screening. It also would authorize $5 million for FY2008, $5.063 million for FY2009, $5.125 million for FY2010, $5.188 million for FY2011, and $5.25 million for FY2012 to develop quality assurance programs for laboratories providing newborn screening.

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