Report Contends Montana Babies Could Be in Danger - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Report Contends Montana Babies Could Be in Danger

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A new report shows that a lack of newborn screenings in Montana may have deadly consequences.

The report incited some controversy -- from people who'd like to see the system change, and those who have complete faith in how things are now.

The report shows that unsuspecting Montana babies are in danger.  It contends that Montana labs continually send newborn blood samples late for testing and avoid being held accountable for such life endangering actions

 "I don't think the hospitals are doing it on purpose. I think it's a lack of oversight and holding the hospitals accountable as far as the department of health and human services is concerned."

The report's author, Jeremy Chapman, says these oversights can lead to avoidable infant deaths, from easily detected conditions that must be discovered immediately.

We spoke with a former member of the state house Health and Human Services Committee -- who has herself used Western Montana hospitals for childbirth -- and she disagrees with the report.

"I have no doubt in the transparency and the accountability of the department of health and human services. I have nothing but faith and admiration for our healthcare in Montana."

Chapman says the future looks good for those worried about the lab's prior missteps -- states with similar issues, like Arizona, have overhauled their systems, and now post their work publicly online.

"I think Montana should do the same, be transparent and accountable to the people of how the hospitals are performing."

Chapman added that the department of health and human services withheld the records that he requested for ten months, citing a variety of excuses.

He adds that newborn screening programs save lives when implemented properly, something he hopes to see realized in Montana in the near future.

The Montana Center for Investigative Reporting provided info and the states for this piece. 

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