Maryland to Begin Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease

BALTIMORE (August 29, 2012) – On September 1, 2012, Maryland will begin newborn screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).  There are many forms of congenital heart disease, but CCHD is any heart defect present at birth that can potentially cause serious illness or death in the first weeks of life if not diagnosed and treated. 
CCHD screening was added in 2011 to the federal Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, the list of items recommended by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be included in newborn screening. Currently, New Jersey and Indiana are screening, with several more states planning to begin in the near future.
CCHD can often be identified prenatally by ultrasound, but at least 40 percent of cases are still missed.  Newborn screening involves the use of pulse oximetry, a painless test that involves wrapping one sensor around a baby’s hand and one around their foot to measure the saturation of oxygen in their blood.  The sensor uses light absorption to measure oxygen saturation, and the test takes only a few minutes. 
Approximately 140 infants are born in Maryland each year with CCHD.  Their heart condition is often diagnosed before birth or due to symptoms after birth.  However, there are infants who appear well at birth, but become critically ill over the first days and weeks of life as their circulation adapts to life outside the womb.
“Safeguarding the health of Maryland infants is a top priority for our state, and this simple screening will help accomplish this goal,” said Frances Phillips, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services.
Newborn screening will not identify all cases of CCHD, but it will improve the detection rate when combined with a thorough physical examination.  The screening will also identify other causes of low oxygen saturation in the blood, such as infections or lung disease. All Maryland birthing hospitals will arrange for immediate follow-up evaluation of an infant with abnormal screening results. As with any screening test, some tests could result in false-positives, with reassuring findings on follow-up.
Educational webinars have been created for hospital and birthing center staff to provide recommendations and guidelines for screening.  Please visit the Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs CCHD screening website for more provider or parent information at  You can also contact the office by phone at 410-767-6730, or access our resource line at 1-800-638-8864 for information about health care resources.

Substance Abuse Help


Zika Information


Rabies Information




Fatalities related to intoxication down in Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico in 2017

Snow Hill, MD- Deaths related to drug and alcohol intoxication, including opioid overdoses, are down in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset Counties, according to 3rd Quarter 2017 Overdose Data released by the Maryland Department of Health last week. From January through September 2016, compared to the same period in 2017, intoxication fatalities are down 20-percent in Somerset County, 42-percent in Worcester County, and 32-percent in Wicomico County. The drop-off in the Tri-County region comes at a time when overall drug and alcohol related deaths in Maryland are on the rise.

Read more ...

Public Education to Combat Statewide Opioid Epidemic

 Baltimore, MD (January 26, 2018) — The Maryland Department of Health today announced two multi-media advertising campaigns to help raise awareness and combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

Read more ...

Proposed legislation, increased bed capacity, more positions will mitigate decade-long issue and improve care

Baltimore, MD (January 23, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Health today announced proposed departmental legislation, as well as administrative actions, to address longstanding systemic issues involving court-ordered placements for individuals requiring mental health treatment. The Department has worked diligently to reverse a nearly decade-long problem of backlogs for justice system-involved individuals who require court-ordered placement for mental illness treatment at its hospitals.

Read more ...

Directs Attorney General to File Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers; Announces Plans to Convert Former City Jail into a Secure Treatment Facility, Enhance Data Sharing Among First Responders, Strengthen Volume Dealer Law to Include Fentanyl

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford today unveiled a series of executive actions and proposed legislation to continue the administration’s aggressive fight against the heroin and opioid crisis. The governor also authorized the Attorney General to file suit against select opioid manufacturers and distributors on the grounds that they have misled the public and helped to create the addiction crisis gripping Maryland and the nation.

Read more ...

Baltimore, MD (December 7, 2017) – The 14th Annual Maryland Health Equity Conference, which focuses on needed coordination, collaboration, and available opportunities to address population health and health disparities in Maryland, was held today in Baltimore.

Read more ...
 Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program