A bill to make Type 1 diabetes screening more common has made progress in the North Carolina legislature, but language that would have mandated screening has been removed from the legislation.
The North Carolina House of Representatives voted 111 to 6 to pass a bill known as Reegan’s Rule, which encourages well-child medical practitioners to educate parents of newborns and toddlers about the warning signs of diabetes. While the bill has advanced, a requirement to perform Type 1 screening at ages one and two has been removed. Reegan’s Rule now proceeds to the Senate, where the original version of the bill did not make it to vote before that legislative body adjourned for break.
The legislation came about after a spirited social media campaign was launched in memory of Reegan Karice Oxendine of Rowland, North Carolina. The 16-month-old died in 2013 from an undiagnosed case of Type 1. Cindy Turner of TestOneDrop, a Georgia advocacy group which pushes for expanded Type 1 screening, says the vote signaled progress.
“We would have loved to see the testing requirement stay in, but the change will cover children every year to age five,” Turner says. “The time was right [for the legislation], and this could be a stepping stone for other states.”
North Carolina House Representative Charles Graham, a retired special needs educator and lead sponsor of the House bill, says that legislators made the changes with input from the state’s medical community.
“The physicians’ association expressed concern to us…and a group of nurse practitioners suggested raising the diabetes education requirement to five years, when children are able to communicate better about how they feel,” Representative Graham says. “This sets the stage for dialogue in future years to strengthen diabetes care for our children.”
If the bill passes when the state legislature reconvenes, it appears that North Carolina will be the first state to pass this type of legislation. A search through the National Conference of State Legislatures reference database uncovered no legislation similar to North Carolina’s pending in other states.
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