FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, January 29, 2014
Richmond, VA- Yesterday, the Virginia House of Delegates passed legislation that would save the lives of newborn babies by expanding screening for critical congenital heart defects. House Bill 387 would ensure that simple pulse oximetry screening for critical congenital heart defects is performed on every baby prior to discharge as the new standard of care in the Commonwealth. This bill, which passed the House unanimously, 98-0, will now go to the Senate.
In 2011, pulse oximetry screening was added to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources' Recommended Newborn Screening Panel. Since then, over 25 states have enacted statewide screening policies, and many hospitals in Virginia already screen newborns for CCHDs. However, pulse oximetry screening for all newborns prior to discharge is not currently the standard of care in Virginia.
"This test is simple, non-invasive, painless, and it works," said Delegate Comstock, chief patron of HB 387. "It identifies critical congenital heart defects in newborns and helps save their lives. I'm proud to have worked with Mended Little Hearts, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, the nurse midwives and the Virginia Department of Health towards making this test the new standard of care for our children here in Virginia."
"Critical congenital heart defects can result in death or disability if left undetected. By ensuring that all newborns are screened for these life-threatening conditions before leaving the hospital, HB 387 will help save lives. We thank Delegate Comstock for her leadership on this issue," said Jodi Lemacks, National Program Director of Mended Little Hearts.
Mended Little Hearts is a program of the Mended Hearts Inc., a non-profit, volunteer-based organization providing hope, help and healing to heart patients and their families since 1951. Their mission is to provide hope and support to children, families and caregivers impacted by congenital heart defects in order to extend and improve quality of life.
Delegate Comstock currently serves as the Chairwoman of the House Science and Technology Committee. She also serves on the House Commerce and Labor and the House Transportation Committees. Delegate Comstock represents parts of McLean, Great Falls and Vienna in Fairfax County and parts of Sterling and Potomac Falls in Loudoun County.