Children on Medicaid in Wisconsin not getting tested for lead poisoning

NOW: Children on Medicaid in Wisconsin not getting tested for lead poisoning

Despite a federal mandate that all children on Medicaid be tested for lead poisoning, a larger majority of Wisconsin children were not tested last year.

Molina Healthcare is working with Milwaukee health officials to sound the alarm and get the word out.

"This is serious," says Dr. Karen Babos Chief Medical Officer at Molina of Illinois and Wisconsin. "Parents need to get educated and reach out to the primary care physcian."

The man points of exposure remain homes built before 1978 through lead paint and paint chips.

As well as buildings constructions before 1947 that have lead based water pipes.

"I thought Flint, Michigan was an outlier," says Dr. Babos. "But in fact we have a problem here too."

Lead poisoning can stunt children both physically and mentally and the symptoms of exposure are hard to detect.

That's why doctors say parents should automatically be suspicious of exposure. 

"That's the problem," says Dr. Babos. "Because it comes on so slowly, they may not notice."

Molina is working with local groups to provide free testing for children six years and younger.

The doctor also says there are certain foods which can offset symptoms.

"Calcium rich foods. Iron rich foods. Foods with vitamin C," she suggests. "Milk. Yogurt. Leafy vegetables and  lean red meats and nuts and citrus fruits. All will help. But, it won't go far enough."

Share this article: