RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed an executive order establishing a panel to help develop a plan to screen babies for a life-threatening heart defect.
The governor says almost four in 1,000 newborns in Virginia are diagnosed each year with one of the defects causing critical congenital heart disease. The executive order requires the state secretary of health and human resources to assemble a group of experts to help the Virginia Department of Health implement a screening program for all newborns.
In April, McDonnell vetoed legislation by Democratic Del. Patrick Hope of Arlington County that essentially would have done the same thing. McDonnell said at the time that while the issue deserves attention, legislation is not needed to create a workgroup.
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