Guest Blogger: Terry Mock, California Senior Health Systems Policy Director
On July 1, California began implementing Pulse Oximetry screening on every newborn in a birthing facility. Pulse Oximetry—an inexpensive, painless test which screens for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD)—is now a part of the state’s newborn screening panel, along with vision and hearing. Utilizing pulse oximetry will save infant lives by detecting heart defects which otherwise would go undetected until later in life.
In October, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1731 into law. Assemblyman (now state senator) Marty Block sponsored the bill, with the support of the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes. California You’re the Cure advocates showed support every step of the way. Thanks to over 80 meetings with legislators at California Lobby Day, more than 20,000 email responses to committee members, daily delivery of personal stories before key committee votes, and phone calls to the Governor; we were able to make this happen.
A special thank you goes out to Rayme Elliot and D.J. and Casey Peltier for their extensive, awe-inspiring support of AB 1731. Specifically, we would like to thank Rayme Elliot for passionately sharing her son Logan’s story, who had tragically passed away from a CCHD. The Peltier family also worked closely with the AHA to share their son Caleb’s experience surviving CCHD. Without the help of Rayme, the Peltier Family and our You’re the Cure Advocates like you, this bill would not have gone into effect July, 1, 2013.
All babies deserve a healthy head start in life, which is why screening newborns with Pulse Oximetry is so important. California was the first state of the Western States Affiliate to pass the law, then came Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska. Today, 22 states across the nation are now using pulse ox screening and saving lives!