Ohio Senate Passes Bill To Promote Infant Health
Oelslager sponsors measure to require screening of all newborns for heart defects

COLUMBUS — State Senator Scott Oelslager today announced the Ohio Senate voted to approve legislation that aims to provide earlier diagnosis and prevention of congenital heart defects in newborns. Oelslager jointly sponsored Senate Bill 4 with Senator Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville).

Senate Bill 4 requires all infants born in an Ohio hospital or birthing center to undergo a pulse oximetry screening prior to being discharged. This non-invasive test estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen, and is an effective method for detecting heart defects that could go undetected by current screening methods. Congenital heart defects are the leading birth defect in the United States, and the number one killer of infants with birth defects.

“Using a pulse oximetry test to help identify potential heart defects is a simple and painless procedure, but one that could make a profound difference in the lives of Ohio children,” Oelslager said. “Detecting heart defects early means a greater chance of survival, and using this screening tool will help us identify those children who may need intervention that may otherwise appear healthy.”

Senate Bill 4 now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

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