Proposal Expands Newborn Disease Screenings

A Kentucky bill will expand screenings for newborns and mandate that all newborns are tested for 29 rare, but serious, diseases.

Previously, Kentucky tested for only four fewer than all but one state in the union. Doctor Steve Davis, who is the deputy commissioner for the Department of Public Health, says the testing will save the lives of 80 to 100 children a year.

Last year, when the state tested for just four diseases, nearly 400 children were referred for follow-up testing for metabolic disorders.

Beginning July 1st, Kentucky will start expanding the screening.

Governor Ernie Fletcher has earmarked $1 million in tobacco settlement funds toward the $3.1 million initial cost.

Davis said the rest will be covered through charges for the tests, which are expected to be 50-to-53 dollars per child. The formal signing of the bill is expected this week.