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Governor Signs Perinatal Bill To Address Infant Mortality

Gov Holcomb perinatal bill

The bill signing took place at the Goodwill Nurse-Family Partnership in Merrillville. (Photo courtesy of Indiana Governor's Office)

Gov. Eric Holcomb traveled to northern Indiana Wednesday to sign new legislation that will create a state perinatal program. It aims to address Indiana’s high infant and maternal mortality rates.

The governor signed the bill at a Goodwill Nurse Family Partnership, NFP, in Lake County. The perinatal navigator program provides care to low-income, first time mothers in Indiana and was referenced as a model during the legislative session.  

The new law will establish a state program to provide more nurse partners and community health workers to coach, care for and educate young women during pregnancy. The act also includes a new substance abuse verbal screen requirement. 

Betsy Delgado is Goodwill vice president of mission and education initiatives. She attended the signing ceremony. 

"It really is a compliment to the work that we do and helps us to identify early, families that need our help," says Delgado. 

The state estimates the measure will cost about $3 million. Delgado says she believes the move will help reduce the state’s high infant mortality rates. 

"To look underneath and figure out what are the things that drive good maternal/child health and promote and invest in those things," says Delgado. 

The NFP program in Indiana and other states has reported a reduced number of intensive care visits and instance of child abuses.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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