Wed., June 6, 2012 1:09pm (EDT)

Testing For Congenital Defects
By Associated Press
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Georgia hospitals may be required to test all newborns for congenital heart defects.( photo courtesy of storyvillegirl via flikr)
Georgia hospitals may be required to test all newborns for congenital heart defects.( photo courtesy of storyvillegirl via flikr)
Georgia hospitals may be required to test all newborns for congenital heart defects.

A Covington woman is pushing state legislation for screenings using a pulse oximeter. The painless, one-minute test requires doctors to place a small device on a baby's toe or finger to check blood oxygen levels and heart rates. Jessica Hatcher's 3-year-old son Wyatt was born with a congenital heart defect that required a heart transplant. Hatcher says without the test, his condition may have gone unnoticed.

The Georgia Department of Public Health will study whether pulse ox screening should be a standard test for newborns. Officials will look at the benefits, cost and implementation associated with testing. If approved, it would mean insurance companies would have to pay about $4 per child.