For Immediate Release - June 22, 2012

GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS BILL INCREASING ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION ON DOWN SYNDROME FOR PARENTS

Down Syndrome Bill Signing
Governor Patrick joins Lieutenant Governor Murray, families, advocates and legislators to sign H. 3825, “An Act Requiring Certain Information Relative to Down Syndrome be Provided to Certain Parents and Families” in the Governor’s Council Chambers. (Photo credit: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office). View additional photos.

BOSTON – Friday, June 22, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick today signed H. 3825, “An Act Requiring Certain Information Relative to Down Syndrome be Provided to Certain Parents and Families.” The bill requires care providers to provide educational information to parents who receive prenatal and postnatal Down syndrome diagnoses.  

“This legislation gives parents additional resources to make informed decisions for their families,” said Governor Patrick.

The legislation requires parents who receive a prenatal or postnatal Down syndrome diagnosis be provided with up-to-date, evidence-based, written information. The bill also requires these materials be culturally and linguistically appropriate and include information about educational and support programs. 

Governor Patrick was joined by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, legislators and members of the disability community at the signing.

“We strongly support the sharing of useful and timely health information with all patients,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “This bill will provide expecting families with critical information reviewed by medical experts and also takes an extra step to ensure expecting parents have the appropriate support and resources.” 

“This bill is about providing the most accurate and up-to-date information about Down syndrome,” said Representative Tom Sannicandro, the bill’s sponsor. “I am proud to see it signed.”

The bill directs the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to make the above-described information available to all persons or facilities that render prenatal and postnatal care or genetic counseling and mandates that the information include physical, developmental, educational and psychosocial outcomes, as well as life expectancy, intellectual and functional development and treatment options. 

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