BOSTON – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces that today the Massachusetts Senate has enacted S. 1919, An Act relative to newborn pulse oximetry screenings for congenital heart defects. This action represents final legislative approval of Downing’s bill, which is now on the Governor’s desk.
The legislation requires all Massachusetts newborns to be tested for congenital heart defect through pulse ox screening at hospitals and birth centers before they are discharged. Pulse ox, a non-invasive screening test, can identify infants with a congenital heart defect and newborns at risk for heart defects and potentially save their lives. This commonsense measure is in place in twenty-seven other states across the nation; the bill’s implementation date here in the Commonwealth is January 1, 2015.
This bill is a significant item of Downing’s legislative agenda, and is a shared priority of the American Heart/American Stroke Association (AHA). The AHA is the largest voluntary health organization in the world, working to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Governor Patrick has ten days to review and act on the bill.