Office of the Maine Senate President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA – A bill sponsored by Maine State Senator Lisa Keim (R-Oxford) to expand the power and scope of the state’s maternal and infant death review panel has been approved by the Legislature and signed into law.
The bill (LD 1112), An Act Regarding the Maternal and Infant Death Review Panel, was submitted by Senator Keim after research showed Maine’s infant mortality rate rose between 2005 and 2014. A Bangor Daily News report indicated Maine was the only state to see an increase in that time period.
It was also determined that a number of factors prevented the panel from accessing medical information about the deceased, and that members had not met in three years.
The bill gives the Maternal and Infant Death Review Panel the power to request the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to more easily access records and information regarding infant mortality cases. It also requires the panel to meet twice per year and to study the causes of the increase in infant mortality in the state within the past 10 years.
“This is a big step forward in understanding Maine’s growing infant mortality rate,” Senator Keim said. “The best way to honor the victims’ survivors and the children, themselves, is to find out why it’s happening and to prevent future infant mortality cases.
“I am glad that the Maternal and Infant Death Review Panel will now have the resources it needs to do its work.”
The panel is required to report its findings by February 7, 2018 to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services in the Second Regular Session of the 128th Legislature.
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