Pulse Oximetry Policy

Effective on or after July 1, 2014, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will update its policy to recognize the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Pulse Oximetry Screening test on newborns to detect congenital heart defects.  Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive test that estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen.   

The “Emerson Rose Act” (Act) became effective September 11, 2013, mandating that DHEC require each birthing facility it licenses to perform a pulse oximetry screening test, or other DHEC approved screening to detect critical congenital heart defects, on every newborn in its care.  A newborn may be exempt from the required screening if the parent of the newborn objects, in writing, for reasons pertaining to religious beliefs only.

In accordance with the Act, birthing facilities shall perform a pulse oximetry screening test, or other DHEC approved screening to detect critical congenital heart defects, on every newborn when the baby is twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours of age, or as late as possible if the baby is discharged from the hospital before reaching twenty-four hours of age.  Pulse oximetry screening for newborns shall be performed in the manner designated by DHEC guidelines located at http://www.scdhec.gov/health/docs/PS-R016-20130827.pdf.  The hospital reimbursement for newborns is an all-inclusive payment for services rendered during that hospital stay and thus includes the pulse oximetry screen.

In compliance with DHEC policy, Licensed Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives that deliver a newborn in a Birthing Center must also perform this test.  In addition SCDHHS requires the test to be performed when a newborn is delivered in place of service home.   When billing SCDHHS for the screening:

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