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Patience pays off for the littlest hearts


On August 17th the Maine Secretary of State published the DHHS rules that requires pulse oximetry testing for all newborns in Maine. It was a long road, but worth the ride.

Those of you who have been following this blog since its inception 3 years ago know that the American Heart Association believes that every newborn baby should be screened for congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry. When I first blogged about this, 9 states required this simple, non-invasive procedure. I was hoping Maine could be #10.

Well, we did not quite make it—we are closer to #40—but we got it done.

Oftentimes, once a bill becomes law in Maine, there is a long process to develop the rules to implement the law. LD460, Rep. Henry Beck’s bill that required all newborns be screened for critical congenital heart defects became law on July 2nd, 2013 (without the Governor’s signature). That started the clock on a 2+ year rulemaking process, one that the American Heart Association was deeply involved in. We wanted to assure that the rules were based in evidence and included a clear directive to providers to screen for CCHDs using a pulse oximeter

The rules were finalized and now we can celebrate! In fact, we are planning to celebrate in October (date TBD but will be a Sunday afternoon) in Augusta. We are hosting a party for our CCHD families. If you or a family member were born with a CCHD, please send me an email so we can get you an invite!

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