CHA News Article

DHCS Guidance Addresses Authorization of Treatment for PKU
Other guidance addresses newborn congential heart disease screening policy

California Children’s Services (CCS) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released guidance April 1 on authorizing the drug sapropterin dihydrochloride to treat Phenylketonuria. The guidance, Numbered Letter (NL) 02-0315, addresses the revised criteria and process for authorizing the drug and supersedes previous guidance, NL 01-0109. Another notable NL for hospitals provides policy guidelines and procedural direction on the role of CCS programs in screening newborns for possible critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) by means of pulse oximetry.

The letter states that, beginning July 1, 2013, any general acute care hospital with licensed perinatal services or any intermediate care nursery in California must offer parents of newborns, prior to discharge, a pulse oximetry test on their newborn for the identification of CCHD. In addition, community-level and regional-level NICUs within the state must offer the test, prior to discharge, to parents of newborns as specified in each NICU’s policy on pulse oximetry screening for CCHD. CCS and DHCS generate NLs for CCS program administrators, medical consultants and other stakeholders interested in the financial, clinical and care issues specific to children. Many of the NLs contain information of value to hospitals. A repository of NLs, which have been issued since 1992, is available on the DHCS website at