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Summer is here (?)

by Becky S. on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

So, the Legislature has gone home for the summer and it is time to start planning for next year.  I will do a full Legislative recap in my next blog, but we are still waiting for some more information about the fate of one of our bills, so that will have to wait until next week.

The good news is that our bill to screen all newborns for critical congenital heart defects went into law on July 2nd!  The bill had overwhelming support in the Legislature and thanks to some quick work by Rep. Richard Malaby and Rep. Deborah Sanborn, the Governor decided to allow the bill to become law without his signature. 

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Henry Beck and Senate champion, Sen. Colleen Lachowicz worked hard to make sure the bill had strong support in the Legislature.  We could not have done it without them.

Check out the Senate vote.  It is a bit hard to read (the red lights don’t photograph well and I may have been shaking).  Green dots mean “Yes” and Red dots mean “No.”  There are no red dots.

We will continue to work with the March of Dimes, Maine Medical Center and the Maine CDC to assure that the rules (most laws need rules to be implemented) stipulate that all newborns are screened using pulse oximetry.  The rulemaking will happen later this summer and into the fall.  Pulse Oximetry is the screening tool found to be most effective in catching issues in these teeny tiny hearts. 

I want to do a special shout out to Elise Baldacci, a member of our Advocacy Committee, for her work talking to the Governor’s staff to iron out the details.  You can read about Elise in our Advocate Spotlight this month.

Enjoy the Maine Summer!  It is 64 and cloudy today. My living room was 86-degrees two days ago.  Ayuh.  Summer in Maine.

Becky

Becky.smith@heart.org 

207-523-3007

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