Gov. Mark Dayton today signed legislation that gives the Minnesota Department of Health the authority to store newborn screening samples and test results indefinitely, unless a parent objects.
Minnesota's newborn screening program tests for more than 50 rare conditions that could be harmful or fatal if not treated early in life.
The new law removes the state's two-year time limit on storing those test results. It also eliminates the 71-day limit on archiving newborn blood spot cards.
A dozen medical organizations and societies backed the legislation. They said long-term storage assures that doctors and families can access the data for future health-related testing. They also argued that the archive is a critical resource for developing new screening tests.
Parents will have to fill out paperwork if they wanted to opt out of the health department's default storage program. The law's critics said that puts an unreasonable burden on families.