Indiana consistently ranks near the bottom for infant mortality rates. Several bills being considered by Indiana lawmakers this session address the issue. Senate bill 278 would create a yearly statewide review process through 2024.
The state’s rate has remained stagnant for the past few years at about seven deaths per 1,000 live births.
The bill recently passed a Senate health committee to establish a Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team that would report to the Indiana State Department of Health.
March of Dimes Indiana director of maternal and child health Jeena Siela says many counties and regions in the state already have committees that look at infant deaths.
“Are they seeing a lot more suffocation, or asphyxiation deaths after the baby is born?” says Siela. “Are there a lot of deaths that are happening in the hospital setting and there might be some quality improvement initiatives that need to happen?”
About 600 babies die before their first birthday in Indiana. Siela says Fetal Infant Mortality Reviews, or FIMRs, aim to pinpoint what occurred on the local level.
“So really what this comes down to is data, and making sure we have local data on what’s happening in that local community so they can make data driven decisions to prevent these deaths from happening again,” says Siela.
The last comprehensive statewide report came in 2016 and pointed to a large number of unsafe sleep deaths.
The proposal would direct providers to report fatalities to be reviewed by the state team every year until 2024. The bill was advanced to the full Senate.