HARRISBURG – The PA Senate approved a measure to better protect newborns in the Commonwealth. Senate Bill 983 would ensure that children born in PA are comprehensively screened for all recommended disorders so that newborns may receive prompt treatment and prevent instances of permanent disability or even death. Currently, the Department of Health administers the newborn screening program and maintains a short list of mandatory screenings and a longer list of optional ones whereby some hospitals choose to screen for the full panel while others do not. Dauphin County Sen. John DiSanto explained that a constituent brought the issue to his attention. Constituent, Lesa Brackbill of Hershey, experienced firsthand how the health of newborns may be dependent on which hospital at which a baby is born after losing her young daughter, Tori in 2016 when she was only 20 months old after a battle with Krabbe—a treatable disease when diagnosed at birth. The bill, which is now before the state House, also empowers an advisory board to add any clinically recommended disorders for screening in the future without being subject to limitations in the Department of Health’s annual budget.

SEN. JOHN DISANTO