Letter to the editor: Mandatory screening not always best

I am writing respond to and correct a letter published in the Jan. 27 Free Press by Dr. Mary Cushman (“Opinion: Missing heart defects in newborns”). Dr. Cushman’s well intentioned letter gives the inaccurate impression that newborn infants in Vermont are not being screened for congenital heart disease (an inborn heart defect) when in fact the opposite is true.

Through a voluntary program promoted by the state Academy of Pediatrics and the Vermont Health Department, nearly 100 percent of hospital born infants in Vermont are screened before discharge from hospital. While this is not required by law, good practice has inspired all of the community and university hospital services to provide this inexpensive and painless test.

It is really counterproductive to pass a law to require something that is already being done and reported for several reasons:

1. It is obviously a waste of time and money.

2. Mandating in law technical tests is a double edged sword. Science advances and those mandated tests may be not the best standard of care in a few years. The fact that a very high level of compliance already exists also allows for improvements in the future to proceed with the pace of new knowledge, not legislative calendars.

3. The call to make this a priority is old news. It is already happening. Rest assured that these small hearts are being well cared for.



Moseley is chief of pediatrics at North Country Hospital.

This letter was publish February 16, 2016, in the Burlington Free Press


AAPVT Chapter Grant Application for Flu and COVID-19 Vaccines

The Vermont...

Come chat with pediatricians and ask your questions about COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5...

MONTPELIER (June 18th, 2022) – Vermont child health professionals welcome the authorization of COVID-19...