Did you know Colorado’s newborn screening program legislation has not been updated in more than 20 years? Both the metabolic screening program and the hearing screening program lack clear statutory authority for follow-up with families of babies. There is a bill in our legislature right now that will address these issues.
Metabolic screening, known as the “bloodspot test” for newborns requires at least six days a week of laboratory services to identify these rare but critical health conditions and notify families and pediatric primary health care providers right away about life-saving follow up and treatments.
Hearing screening no longer has any dedicated state funding for a coordinator or follow up staff at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, and again, the support for screening and follow up in hospitals, birth centers and for homebirths needs stable funding and clear statutory support so that babies are not “lost to follow-up”. All babies should be screened for hearing. Those of us with late-identified babies know that family history or a quick observation is not a reliable guide. Language begins to develop at (or even before!) birth, and families need to know if their babies can’t hear well as soon as possible.
Educate yourself about this bill and share with your local legislator. Hearing loss is rare, and most people do not yet know how critical it is for babies to be identified early so that parents can act quickly to create language learning for their newborns. Won’t you reach out today?
Newborn Screening Fact Sheet rev 2.1
Link to proposed legislation: from Colorado.gov General Assembly page
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Outline for letters or emails to educate legislators