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Sun Gazette: House Accepts Governor’s Veto of Hope Measure Print


Created:  Thursday, April 20, 2012  11:45AM

Despite failing to get Gov. McDonnell's veto of a piece of legislation related to the health of newborns overridden, Del. Patrick Hope said he believes the governor is sincere in his efforts addressing the issue brought up in the legislation.

The House of Delegates on April 18 agreed to accept McDonnell's veto of a bill by Hope (D-47th) requiring the Virginia Department of Health to convene a working group that would develop a plan to screen infants born in Virginia for congenital cyanotic heart disease.

Although Hope's bill passed both houses of the General Assembly without opposition, the governor in a veto message said screening plans could be developed administratively, saving the cost and burden of convening a working group on the matter.

Hope said he took the governor at his word that the Department of Health would get the job done.

"The intent of the legislation is to ensure all babies born in the commonwealth will be properly screened for critical congenital heart disease, and the governor is committed to carrying this out administratively," he told the Sun Gazette.

Cyanotic heart disease in newborns can be caused by numerous factors, and results in a flow of blood that is low on oxygen. According to the National Institutes of Health, complications can range from abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure to stroke and sudden death, both in the early stages of life and later.

The governor directed the Department of Health to submit a report on the status of its efforts to address screening to his chief of staff by Dec. 1, and the report will be forwarded on to the relevant committees of the legislature.