Congenital cytomegalovirus screenings required soon for Florida newborns

In the case of children born prematurely, they must be screened within 21 days of birth for the virus.

Congenital cytomegalovirus is a disease that slips under the radar for some, but perhaps it shouldn’t.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 200 babies is born with the virus, and one in five of those has long-term health impacts, including hearing loss that can permanently hamper the newborn’s ability to acquire language skills.

In Florida starting in July, medical professionals will be required to screen for this disease, after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Sen. Tina Polsky’s SB 168 into law Friday.

In the case of children born prematurely, they must be screened within 21 days of birth for the virus.

If the child is transferred to another hospital for higher-level care, the bill stipulates that the test must be performed at that facility.

The test is covered under Medicaid under this legislation, and insurers and HMOs are required to compensate hospitals for the test under the contracted rate. Children diagnosed with the virus will be referred to primary care doctors and the Children’s Medical Services Early Intervention Program for case management and necessary follow-ups.

The bill is expected to save families money when it takes effect in July, with the idea that early treatment precludes more expensive interventions down the road. Those savings come at the expense of hospitals compelled to perform the tests, as well as the state of Florida’s Medicaid program and the CMSEIP.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


6 comments

  • Julia

    May 11, 2024 at 4:46 pm

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  • Richard D

    May 11, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    The standard test for CMV is the PCR test. According to the Cleveland Clinic, few if any people who test positive have any symptoms. Implied in this article is that there is a CMV infection if the test (PCR) shows a positive result, and that the infant should be transferred to a primary care facility for further treatment – which could be extensive. Usually, whenever a PCR test result is positive and there are no symptoms, it’s called an “asymptomatic” case.

    Reply

  • MH/Duuuval

    May 11, 2024 at 10:41 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tina!

    Reply

  • Marvin M.

    May 12, 2024 at 12:07 am

    What concerns me the most is that it is not at all clear, in the article or in the text of the bill, if your child is not eligible (and already enrolled in) Medicaid, if the screening cost would be covered. It’s not clear if the doctor’s think they would have to, by law, do it, and charge you, whether you have Medicaid or insurance or not.

    Reply

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 13, 2024 at 11:45 am

    It’s a hoax! Rhonda and the G0P’s state government just wants your baby DNA and to know about every baby to ensure they get all their VAX that these very same G0Ps complain about at election time, howling “Freedom!”

    Reply

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