California Newborn Screening Program
In California, about 1 out of every 600 babies tested will have a rare, but treatable genetic disorder. To ensure the health of all its newborns, state law requires that all babies born in California have newborn screening soon after birth.
The California Newborn Screening (NBS) Program is a public health program that screens all babies for many serious but treatable genetic disorders. Newborn screening began in California in 1966 with screening for one disorder, called phenylketonuria (PKU). The NBS Program has expanded and now includes 80 different disorders, both genetic (passed down in families) and congenital (present at birth).
The goal of the program is to identify babies with these disorders early, so that treatment can be started right away. A parent or guardian of the newborn child may only decline newborn screening based on the objection that it conflicts with his or her religious beliefs or practices.
Medi-Cal, health plans, and most private insurance companies must pay for the NBS Program screening fees.