Federal funding for newborn screenings set to run out next week

by: Jacqueline Fell Updated:


A North Carolina mother is taking a special fight all the way to Capitol Hill.

She told Channel 9 how this testing helped save her own child’s life.

Federal funding for newborn screening is set to run out next week.

However, lawmakers are preoccupied with the government shutdown.

Ethan Mullis is a happy and healthy 4-year-old.

When Ethan was a newborn, Raleigh doctors diagnosed him with a critical congenital heart defect.

“He was rushed to Duke University Medical Center in Durham and had open heart surgery when he was just three days old,” said his mother, Joye Mullis.

Joye Mullis is urging congress to reauthorize funds for newborn screenings, including the one test that saved Ethan’s life.

“It’s likely we could have taken him home and we may not have made it back to a hospital,” she said.

It only takes one drop of blood to identify more than 50 diseases like HIV, sickle-cell disease, or cystic fibrosis.

Federal funding for the hell prick test is expiring.

North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan authored a bill committing $120 million for five years.

“If you can detect these illnesses at a very early age, and then diagnosis and treat them, first you can save lives and also million dollars in long term care.”

The bill has bipartisan support, a rarity on Capitol Hill.

However, Congress is consumed with avoiding a government shutdown.

Eyewitness News called the Senate majority leader’s office to see when a vote could come.

In 2007, only 10 states and Washington, D.C. required newborn testing.

The bill includes funding for research that identifies new treatments and new screening programs and resources to maintain newborn services.