Georgia health department screens newborns for less disorders than other states

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:34 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 6:19 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Newborns across the nation go through a screening that doctors say could change the rest of their lives.

But the list of conditions they’re screened for varies state by state.

“Every baby that is born or transferred in, we make sure has a newborn screen.”

It’s a screening that Neonatologist Dr. Carolyn Glendye says can be lifesaving.

“It’s a small little heel prick and we send that blood to the health department in Atlanta and they run that for over 30 inheritable disorders that babies can have,” Memorial Health Neonatologist Dr. Carolyn Glendye said.

In Georgia, the screening picks up well known hereditary disorders like Sickle Cell.

“To more rare conditions that are pretty rare but can be devastating and really life altering that we want to catch early.”

But when babies in Georgia hospitals get those screenings, they’re tested for less diseases and disorders than in other states.

Surrounding states, South Carolina and Florida, both test for over 50 disorders while Georgia only test for 37. That’s according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration data as of December 2022.

While the state-by-state differences in newborn healthcare have sparked concern, Dr. Glendye says the Georgia Department of Health creates the list of disorders they test for based on our area.

“They’re constantly looking at that and making sure they’ve got what they need on the list and I think parents can rest assure that we’ve got a really good metabolic screen in place.”

She says the health department makes changes to the list when needed.

“The department of health in Atlanta is constantly on guard watching for these screens and are always in communication with us to catch it early.”

Catching conditions early a life changing measure based on the state you live in.