State Representative Brian Hill (R- Zanesville) today applauded the passage of Senate Bill 4 by the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill requires hospitals and birthing centers to perform screenings pertaining to critical congenital heart defects in newborns in an effort to reduce infant mortality across the state, and ensure the diagnosis and treatment of critical congenital heart defects.

A critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) screening uses physiologic tests, like pulse oximetry, to identify if a newborn has a structural heart defect. These particular newborns are at risk of suffering serious complications after birth that could involve surgery. According to the CDC, 300 infants with unidentified CCHDs are released from newborn facilities each year.

“This is a relatively inexpensive test that yields potentially lifesaving results” said Rep. Hill. “Anything we can do to enhance the health of our newborns, especially something as easy and inexpensive as this test, needs to be offered by our health providers.”

The bill also specifies that the timing of the procedure must be conducted prior to the newborn being discharged unless the newborn is transferred. Parents are able to object to the screening if it conflicts with their religious practices and beliefs.

S.B. 4 passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the Senate for concurrence.

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