Mass. Senate Passes Two Heart-Healthy Bills

by | Nov 19, 2013

BOSTON – On November 14th, Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved two heart-healthy bills: S. 1008, An Act Relative to Newborn Pulse Oximetry Screenings for Congenital Heart Defects, co-sponsored by Senator Moore, and S. 231, An Act Relative to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification for Athletic Coaches.

“Throughout the Commonwealth, friends, neighbors and family members suffer and die from heart-related illnesses each year,” Senator Moore said. “These two commonsense bills will not only reduce the number of people who die from heart disease each year, but will make Massachusetts a model for heart health.”

Mike MooreS. 1008 requires all Massachusetts newborns to be tested for congenital heart defect through pulse ox screening at hospitals and birth centers before they are discharged. Pulse ox, a non-invasive screening test, can identify infants with a congenital heart defect and newborns at risk for heart defects and potentially save their lives. This commonsense measure is in place in twenty-seven other states across the nation; the bill’s implementation date here in the Commonwealth is January 1, 2015.

The American Heart/American Stroke Association (AHA) reports that congenital heart defects affect approximately 8 of every 1,000 live births annually. They are the most common birth defects in the United States and the leading killer of infants with birth defects.

The second bill, S. 231, requires athletic coaches employed by public school districts to hold a current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). While nearly 383,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, only 11% survive, most likely because they did not receive timely CPR. When administered right away, CPR greatly enhances survival rates.

Both bills will now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.