Bipartisan Bill to Address Increased Infant Mortality Scheduled for Public Hearing

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

Bipartisan Bill to Address Increased Infant Mortality Scheduled for Public Hearing

Who: Health and Human Services Committee
What: Public hearing on LD 1112, “An Act Regarding the Maternal and Infant Death Review Panel”
Where: Cross Building, Room 209
When: Tuesday, May 9 at 1:00 PM

The Health and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on LD 1112, “An Act Regarding the Maternal and Infant Death Review Panel,” tomorrow at 1:00 PM in Room 209 of the Cross Building.

Sponsored by Senator Lisa Keim (R-Oxford), LD 1112 seeks to address the increase in infant mortalities in Maine.

Since 2003 Maine’s infant mortality rate has gone from one of the lowest rates in the country to one of the highest, growing by 39% from 2003-2013; yet the panel assigned to review why this is occurring has met only once since 2014.

Established to review infant deaths in 2005, the panel has had trouble gaining access to medical records necessary to do their jobs, gaining access to only three cases since they began meeting. Senator Keim’s bill seeks to eliminate roadblocks and ensure the panel is completing its work in the future by:

  • Giving the review panel the power to have the Commissioner of Health and Human Services issue subpoenas to require disclosure of records and information (the same power afforded the child death and serious injury review panel)
  • Requiring the panel to meet twice per year to study the causes of the increase in infant deaths over the last 10 years
  • Requiring the panel to report findings by February 7, 2018 to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human services

“The infant mortality rate is one of the greatest indicators of public health because factors impacting the mortality of infants also affect the health of the entire population. Yet the panel tasked with investigating why Maine’s rate has sharply increased hasn’t been able to do their job, and so they eventually decided it wasn’t worth meeting,” said Sen. Keim.

“While privacy concerns need to be heavily weighed, this is an issue of public health. We have to do everything we can to  get to the bottom of what’s causing this trend so we can take action to reverse it.”

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