House advances Kirchhofer's bill protecting at-risk Hoosier mothers, babies

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Thursday, January 24, 2019 1:59 pm

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 24, 2019) – The House of Representatives Thursday supported State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer’s (R-Beech Grove) legislation addressing Indiana’s high infant mortality rate. 

“With the seventh-highest infant mortality rate in the nation, there is much to be done to ensure more Hoosier babies live to celebrate their first birthday,” said Kirchhofer, chair of the House Public Health Committee. “This proposal goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic because for mothers who use drugs or consume alcohol during pregnancies there is often a higher risk of SIDS.” 

Under this proposal, medical providers would check for signs of substance abuse in pregnant women through a consultation, referring women to substance abuse treatment programs as early as possible.

To help expectant mothers receive prenatal care sooner, Kirchhofer’s legislation would establish a perinatal navigator pilot program, which would provide referrals for wrap-around services and home-visit programs in local communities. The pilot program would be established in the 13 highest-risk counties, including Marion County. Kirchhofer worked on this legislation with Gov. Eric Holcomb to help engage more at-risk expectant mothers in early prenatal care.

Kirchhofer said this bill builds off previous legislative efforts, including Safety PIN (protecting Indiana’s newborns), a competitive grant available to health departments and other health care related entities, or nonprofit organizations working to develop and implement services focused on addressing infant mortality within the state. 

“All of these steps are vital to connecting women with high-risk pregnancies to medical resources before, during and after giving birth,” Kirchhofer said.

House Bill 1007 can now be considered by the Senate. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.    

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State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,

which includes portions of Marion County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.