Lawmakers advance newborn heart screening bill

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a bill to require heart screenings for newborns to catch potentially fatal health problems.

The bill by Senator Jim Smith of Papillion cleared a first-round vote Friday in the Legislature.

Smith says he introduced the bill after he was contacted by a constituent, a mother whose child was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. He says the test is painless, inexpensive, and can help medical professionals catch potentially serious health problems.

The bill would require doctors to order the tests in hospitals and birthing facilities. For births in other places, parents would be responsible for getting a child screened.

The bill directs the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to develop approved methods for testing the children.

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