Infant mortality bill authored by Leising signed into law

Indianapolis, In. — A bill authored by Republican state senator from Oldenburg Jean Leising to establish a statewide maternal mortality review committee was recently ceremonially signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Senate Enrolled Act 142 requires a health care provider or health care facility that has a patient who dies of a maternal mortality to report the death to the committee, and allows the State Department of Health to review morbidity rates. SEA 142 also sets forth immunity provisions for the provider or facility.

Based on the most recent 2018 maternal death data collected by the United Health Foundation, Indiana’s current maternal mortality rate of 41.4 is twice the national average, which is 20.7. Additionally, Indiana’s rate is higher than that of its neighboring states, with Illinois at 16.6, Kentucky at 19.4, Michigan at 19.4 and Ohio at 20.3.

“Too many mothers are dying during or shortly after the birth of their child in our state, and we need to find the cause,” Leising said. “Establishing this committee should provide us with the data we need to help find a solution to this devastating concern.”

Leising was joined at the bill signing by State Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville), State Rep. Karen Engleman (R-Corydon), Dr. Mary Abernathy, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine; Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner; Dr. Niceta Bradburn, a retired neonatologist; Dr. David Boyle, a professor of pediatrics in the division of neonatal-perinatal medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine; Kolawole Ale, the Maternal Mortality Review Committee coordinator; Gretchen Martin, the Child Fatality Review Committee coordinator; and Dr. Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.