I-Team

Assembly to vote Thursday on newborn screening bill

CREATED Feb. 12, 2014

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MADISON - It is called a pulse oximetry screen.  It checks oxygen in an infant's blood.  It can be the first indication a baby that looks healthy is actually very sick.

Rep. Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) is the state Assembly sponsor of a bill that could lead to mandating the non-invasive test for all Wisconsin newborns. 
 
"I was surprised to hear that there were hospitals that weren't doing it," Strachota told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.  "As a mother and as a grandmother, you want to take all the necessary steps to make sure that things are identified as early as possible."
 
The Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday on the newborn screening bill.
 
The TODAY'S TMJ4 I-TEAM revealed that most other states already require pulse oximetry tests, but not Wisconsin.
 
The Wisconsin Hospital Association is generally against lawmakers mandating what happens between doctor and patient.
 
"Legislators are hard workers and knowledgeable in a lot of things, but deciding what's best medical practice and putting it in law is just something we haven't been supportive of," said registered nurse Judy Warmuth, speaking on behalf of the association.
 
The association does support this bill because ultimate authority on requiring pulse oximetry tests would go to doctors, not politicians.
 
The state Senate approved the measure on Tuesday.