WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a revised version of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013 yesterday, finalizing Congressional reauthorization of the legislation. AACC commends Congress for approving this bipartisan legislation, which will enable the continuation and advancement of pediatric testing programs that help thousands of infants receive life-saving treatments every year.
Virtually every one of the more than 4 million infants born in the U.S. each year undergoes newborn screening, which is the practice of testing every newborn for medical conditions that can cause disabilities, developmental delays, illness, or even death. By catching disorders early, newborn screening allows doctors to treat many disorders successfully. The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act will renew funding for various newborn screening programs for the next five years, expand access to these programs, and continue research on treatments for conditions that early screening can detect.
AACC strongly supports Congress’s continued aid to newborn screening programs and actively encouraged Congress to reauthorize this legislation. In October, AACC held a briefing on Capitol Hill—attended by nearly 30 congressional offices—on why medical testing and especially the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013 are crucial to improving children’s health. As a follow up to this briefing, members of AACC’s board of directors visited Senate offices in November to talk further about the critical role clinical tests play in ensuring that children receive the medical treatment they need.
As a result of the concerted effort of many healthcare organizations, the Senate revised the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act and passed it on December 8. AACC applauds Congress for acting on this important public health issue in a timely manner, and now urges the president to sign the bill into law.
“AACC would like to thank Congress for their dedication to improving children’s health, and for their leadership on this legislation that will benefit parents and children across the U.S.,” said AACC CEO Janet B. Kreizman. “Since its inception 50 years ago, newborn screening has undergone remarkable progress to emerge as one of the most successful public health initiatives in the country. The reauthorization of funding for this program is essential to ensuring continuous improvement in children’s health across the United States.”
In addition to the association’s advocacy work on newborn screening, AACC released a position statement in July that stresses the importance of identifying additional conditions for newborn screening beyond the core 29 conditions tested for in most states.
Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of breaking laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.