(NASHVILLE, TN), May 4, 2011 — The full Senate has unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) to help address Tennessee’s high infant mortality rate. The bill directs the Department of Health’s Perinatal Advisory Committee to study issues and policy options relating to hospital discharge and follow-up care procedures for premature infants born less than 37 weeks gestational age.
“This is one small effort in our continuing work against the problem of infant mortality in Tennessee,” said Senator Kelsey. “This bill aims to make sure best practices are followed in this area.”
The goal of the legislation, Senate Bill 616, is to ensure standardized and coordinated processes are followed as premature infants leave the hospital and transition to follow-up care by a health care provider in the community. The bill calls for the Committee to report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate General Assembly committees by January 31, 2012.
Tennessee now ranks 44th in nation for healthy babies, which is up from its 47th ranking last year. In Memphis, Tennessee, the infant mortality rate is three times higher than that of the United States.
All members of the General Assembly joined in signing the legislation as co-sponsors of the bill.