TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas Governor Sam Brownback hosted a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 14, which provides an alternate, more stable funding source for the state’s Newborn Screening program.
Kansas’ Newborn Screening program is administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Since 2009, newborn screening in Kansas has been backed by the Children’s Initiative Fund, which receives its revenue from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Kansas is one of three states in the United States that does not charge parents a fee for newborn screening.
SB 14 provides that newborn screening be financed through fee-for-service by the existing health maintenance organization privilege fee starting in fiscal year 2013.
“We believe this law (SB 14) provides the best solution to ensure funding for this life-saving program. The fund will be subject to legislative appropriation and will ensure the sustainability of newborn screening in Kansas,” said Robert Moser, M.D., Secretary and State Health Officer.
The program identifies infants affected by serious disorders in order to begin treatment to prevent disability and death. KDHE’s Health and Environment Laboratory receives infant bloodspots, screens them for metabolic conditions and reports lab screenings. KDHE’s Bureau of Family Health follows up with families and physicians to report the screening results and assist with genetic and consultant visits. In addition, the program provides education and training to outside partners such as nurses and laboratory personnel at collection facilities.
In fiscal year 2011, the program cost $2.2 million: 40,697 infants received an initial screening, and 2,798 infants had an abnormal screen that required further testing. The program began in 1965 when testing for phenyketonuriua (PKU) began. Since then, the program has been expanded and currently screens for 29 metabolic and health disorders, which are listed at: www.kdheks.gov/newborn_screening/disorder_listing.htm.
Governor Brownback and Dr. Moser were joined at the bill signing ceremony by representatives from Kansas Hospital Association and the March of Dimes Greater Kansas Chapter as well as heath care providers and parents.
“Kansas hospitals play an important role in screening newborns for metabolic and hearing disorders,” said Tom Bell, President and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association. “Hospitals are pleased that this legislation will safeguard future funding so all families can benefit from this essential program.”
"This newborn screening legislation is critical to the health of babies and mothers in our state. We couldn't be more excited that Kansas lawmakers have taken this step to ensure all babies have the best start possible," said Mike Jeffries, Division Director for the March of Dimes Greater Kansas Chapter.