Georgia Health News: How many kids exposed to lead go untested?

Georgia Health News: How many kids exposed to lead go untested?

By Andy Miller

More Georgia children should be screened for potentially dangerous levels of lead in their blood, public health officials say.

Jane Perkins, legal director of the National Health Law Program, says there are many reasons for poor performance by state Medicaid programs on lead screenings.

“Some primary care providers do not believe there is a problem with lead, and state Medicaid bulletins on the subject could provide Medicaid-participating providers with helpful education on this point,” Perkins says.

“Because they believe there is little risk from lead, many of these providers believe that a verbal risk assessment [questioning the family about possible exposure risks] is all that is needed,” Perkins says. But she says at least one study found that verbal risk assessments missed 84 percent of the children with elevated lead blood levels.

“There is now an inexpensive finger prick lead test that can be performed in the screening provider’s office, with results known before the child ever leaves the office,” she adds. Read the full article here. »

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