Rare Daily Staff

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeve signed legislation that will require the state to implement within three years newborn screening for conditions added to the federal Recommended Uniform Screening Panel or RUSP.

Mississippi is the first state to pass RUSP alignment legislation this year and the eighth overall, according to the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, a patient organization that has championed such legislation.

“As new treatments and new diagnostic tests are developed each year, an increasing number of disease communities will be able to utilize newborn screening to deliver life-saving diagnosis early in life. RUSP alignment legislation ensures that Mississippi will keep up with those developments,” said Annie Kennedy, EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases chief of Policy, Advocacy, and Patient Engagement. “We are grateful for the Mississippi Assembly for passing, and to the Governor for signing this impactful legislation, which will ensure Mississippi remains a leading state for newborn screening.”

For more than 50 years, every newborn in the United States has been afforded the chance to be screened for a range of debilitating and deadly diseases. Yet, as new technology allows for screening of more diseases, Mississippi has lagged in implementing these tests. As a result, children and their families miss the opportunity to receive treatment and avoid lifelong disability or death.

More than 40 patient advocacy organizations supported the legislation. The bill was sponsored by Republican Representative Missy McGee and Republican Senator Chris Johnson and passed unanimously in both the Mississippi House and Senate.

“Our state has been a leader for newborn screening initiatives in the past, and I commend our legislators and governor for continuing to ensure babies born in Mississippi are diagnosed and treated within days or weeks of birth,” said Shannah Hudson, founder of Mississippi Metabolics Foundation and mother of a child diagnosed with glutaric acidemia type 1. “This law will provide early diagnosis and treatment for our newborns, preventing debilitating and life-threatening consequences from treatable diseases.”

Photo: Republican Mississippi Representative Missy McGee

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