SENATE BILL NO. 239
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE DIVISION OF PUBLIC HEALTH OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES TO ASSUME THE STREPTOCOCCAL DETECTION PROGRAM AND PROVIDING A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION THEREFOR.
WHEREAS, the Delaware Heart Association has, since 1962, as a demonstration project, financed through the Infectious Disease Laboratory of the Wilmington Medical Center, a program for the early detection and treatment of strep throat (beta hemolytic streptococci), which is the cause of rheumatic fever and subsequent rheumatic heart disease; and
WHEREAS, rheumatic heart disease is the only type of heart disease which is clearly preventable through early detection; and
WHEREAS, rheumatic heart disease accounts for almost half of the heart disease in school age children; and
WHEREAS, the Strep Detection Program is now available through any physician in the State and through school nurses in Kent and Sussex County school systems; and
WHEREAS, during 1973-74, 64,901 Delawareans were suspected of having strep throat and through this program, 8,275 actually were found to carry the strep organism, who when treated were no longer carriers of this infectious disease thus preventing untold additional numbers of Delawareans from contracting rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease; and
WHEREAS, the Delaware Heart Association's demonstration program has operated at a cost of 23¢ per culture in 1973-74, which is a nominal amount in comparison to the tremendous cost Delawareans would have to pay for long-term care of individuals with rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease and possible heart valve replacement; and
WHEREAS, the incidence of this disease is highest in the school age population (5-15), the program should encompass all of the School Systems throughout the State; and
WHEREAS, the Delaware Heart Association, because of its need to implement demonstration projects in new and other areas of heart disease, prevention, care and treatment, the Delaware Heart Association had to terminate its support of this program as of January 1, 1975; and
WHEREAS, to protect the health of the citizens of Delaware and to avoid unnecessary incidence of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, it is in the best interests of the citizens of Delaware to enact legislation providing for the continuation and expansion of this program.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. The Division of Public Health is hereby authorized to assume the financial responsibility for the Streptococcal Detection Program in a cooperative agreement with the Infectious Disease Laboratory of the Wilmington Medical Center and the services in this program shall continue to be made available to the general public through cooperating physicians and through all the schools in this State.
Section 2. The sum of $10.000 is hereby appropriated to the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Social Services for the purpose of assuming and expanding the Streptococcal Detection Program for the remainder of fiscal year 1975.
Section 3. Any monies appropriated herein and remaining unexpended, shall revert to the General Fund of the State of Delaware on June 30, 1975.
Approved June 20, 1975.