Session Law

2014

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Chapter 42 AN ACT RELATIVE TO NEWBORN PULSE OXIMETRY SCREENINGS FOR CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS.

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 110B the following section:-
     Section 110C.  For the purposes of this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-
     “Birthing facility”, an inpatient or ambulatory health care facility licensed by the department of public health that provides birthing and newborn care services.
     “Congenital heart defects screening”, the identification of a newborn that may have a congenital heart defect through the use of a physiologic test.
     “Pulse oximetry testing”, a non-invasive test that estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen.
     The department, in consultation with the perinatal advisory committee, shall develop regulations for a hospital that provides birthing and newborn services or a birthing facility that performs congenital heart defects screenings on all newborns through pulse oximetry testing. The department may approve another test to conduct congenital heart defects screenings; provided, however, that the test shall be, at the discretion of the department, at least as accurate, widely available and cost effective as pulse oximetry testing.
     These regulations shall consider evidence-based guidance, including, but not limited to, recommended guidance issued by the federal Health and Human Services Discretionary Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children. A screening shall be performed before the newborn infant is discharged from the birthing facility or hospital to the care of the parent or guardian, or as the department may provide by regulation; provided, however, that the screening shall not be performed if the parent or guardian of the newborn infant object to the screening based upon the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent or guardian.
     A hospital that provides birthing and newborn services or a birthing facility shall adopt protocols for screening for congenital heart defects with pulse oximetry or another test approved by the department under this section for all newborns prior to discharge, based on the department’s regulations, on or before January 1, 2015.
     The department shall review the protocols required under this section and the implementation of these protocols as part of its hospital licensure and birthing facility licensure review processes.

Approved, March 6, 2014.