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Democrat-Sponsored Bill to Revise Newborn Screening Program for Congenital Disorders Passes Full Assembly

In an effort to revise the state’s existing Newborn Screening Program, Assembly Democrats John F. McKeon, Shanique Speight and Valerie Vainieri Huttle have sponsored a bill to establish a Newborn Screening Advisory Review Committee. The committee would consist of medical, hospital, and public health officials, as well as scientific experts and consumer representatives.

The bill (A-2705) previously passed the Senate and unanimously passed the full Assembly Monday, Dec. 16. Following its passage, the sponsors issued the following statements:

“The importance of this type of advisory committee cannot be emphasized enough,” said Assemblyman McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “Its members would have both the experience and authority necessary to make recommendations to the Department of Health on screening technologies, treatment options, follow-up procedures and more. Their advice would help promote the well-being of newborns throughout the state.”

“We must prioritize our children’s health by utilizing the expertise of scientists, doctors and other educated professionals when it comes to congenital disorders,” said Assemblywoman Speight (D-Essex). “Maintaining updated methods of screening for a wide array of biochemical disorders can help reduce the amount of morbidity, mortality and disability that would otherwise be caused by undetected health problems.”

“Early diagnosis of a potential congenital disorder and access to early medical interventions can save parents and their children a lifetime of pain,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It’s important for our state to do everything we can to make sure medical practitioners and parents are educated with standardized, up-to-date information on these disorders and how they can be both identified and treated.”