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.