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Let’s Celebrate More 1st Birthdays

Last fall, Dayton Children’s hosted some of our state legislators from the Ohio Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee as they toured the state to learn more about infant mortality. This week, Senator Shannon Jones introduced legislation to start addressing this very important issue.  Here are the proposals.

Let’s Celebrate More 1st Birthdays
Guest Blogger: State Senator Shannon Jones, Springboro

This week, Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) and I announced the introduction of five bills aimed at fighting the high number of infant deaths here in Ohio. Ranking 48th in the United States and 49th for African American babies in infant mortality, these rankings are not only disturbing but unacceptable. From August through October of 2013, I took the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee on a statewide tour to gain a better understanding of the problem and the needs associated with infant mortality. We saw some incredible local efforts that are working to combat the issue.

It is our hope that these bills will help us reduce infant mortality and ensure that we can celebrate more first birthdays throughout the state. This bill package represents an effort that is going to tackle infant mortality from all angles. Below is a summary of the bills we are introducing.

Senate Bill 276: Claire’s Law Update & Safe Sleep Education
Would require Safe Sleep education material distribution by all entities currently required to provide Shaken Baby Syndrome (Claire’s Law) education to parents. Ohio Department of Health will establish a safe sleep education program and materials. Requires all birthing hospitals, maternity units and freestanding birthing centers to screen for a safe sleep environment available to an infant prior to discharge.

Senate Bill 277: Infant Mortality Commission
Would create a commission to inventory state services, and resources and the funding streams available to address Ohio’s high infant mortality rate.

Senate Bill 278: Death Scene Investigation
Would require the use of the Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Incident (SUIDI) Reporting Form whenever a child one year of age or younger dies suddenly when in otherwise apparent good health.

Senate Bill 279: Federally Qualified Health Center Pilot Project
Would establish a two-year pilot program using the model of “Centering Pregnancy” to improve birth outcomes at four Federally Qualified Health Centers. Earmarks $500,000 in both fiscal years 2015 and 2016 for the pilot program.

Senate Bill 280: Postpartum Care Management & Medicaid Reimbursement for Non-medical Services
Would require case management services for postpartum care to be included in the Medicaid managed care system. Establishes funding of $25 million from Medicaid savings that will be granted by the Ohio Department of Health for community-based services not covered by Medicaid and intended to reduce infant mortality.

Senator Tavares and I are going to continue to work hard to reduce infant mortality in the state of Ohio. Through education and prevention we can celebrate more first birthdays. Visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ShannonJonesOH and Twitter at @sjones524 for updates on the bills as they make their way through the Ohio Senate. As always, please feel free to contact me by emailing Jones@OhioSenate.gov, or by calling (614) 466-9737 with questions or comments.

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