Senators call on feds to beef up lead screening efforts

Hassan joins colleagues in calling on CMS to increase screenings of children

A group of Democratic U.S. senators, including New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, have called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to do more to address prevention, screening, and treatment of children affected by lead exposure.

In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the called for an update “on the steps CMS is taking to address demonstrated gaps in data pertaining to blood lead level screenings and urge CMS to renew its commitment to ensuring appropriate lead screening for children at risk of lead exposure.”

The senators point to a report from the Government Accountability Office that found that data from states on statutorily mandated blood lead screenings is incomplete, making it “unclear how many children at risk of lead exposure are actually receiving required and needed blood lead screenings in accordance with federal requirements and CMS policy.” They called the situation “unacceptable.”

The letter added that “more needs to be done” by CMS “to increase screening rates, emphasize prevention, and facilitate early intervention.”

It also includes a series of questions for Verma to answer by Nov. 30 relating to the agency’s response to the GAO report, including steps it has taken to help states and organizations to improve their data reporting and how it has been working with other federal agencies, most notably the Centers for Disease Control, on developing improved methods to capture data.

In addition to Hassan, the letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.; Angus King, I-Maine; Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Gary Peters, D-Mich.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

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