Assembly Health Committee Approves Bill To Expand Genetic Disease Screening in Infants
The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday passed a bill (SB 142) that would make infant screening for rare genetic disorders more comprehensive, the Sacramento Bee reports. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Deirdre Alpert (D-San Diego), Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) and Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), would require that hospitals test for all detectable metabolic and genetic disorders. If passed, the bill would bring California in line with 42 other states and essentially would make permanent an 18-month pilot program involving about 50% of California hospitals. During the program, which ended in June 2003, 459 infants were identified to be at a high risk for a disorder and were referred for diagnostic evaluation. After evaluations, 51 infants were found to have a disorder recognized by the screening. According to the March of Dimes, children diagnosed with these types of disorders can have healthy lives if the problems are found at birth, but unchecked disorders can lead to retardation, developmental delays and death (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 6/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.