Cluster of bills seek to curb Ohio infantile mortality rate article this past Tuesday began, “In Ohio, nearly eight of every 1,000 babies die before their first birthday -- nearly the highest rate among any state, and far higher than the U.S. rate of six deaths for every 1,000 births -- And Cincinnati’s ranking is no better: A 2008 March of Dimes analysis showed Cincinnati had the fourth-highest infant mortality rate of major cities nationally.”

Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, and Sen. Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus took special notice, being quoted as saying, “We were sick and tired of hearing how abysmal Ohio’s numbers were… Ohio, for all intents and purposes, is dead last in our infant mortality rate. Those numbers are not a reflection on Ohioans. We have to do better.”

And so the duo filed no less than five bills on the Senate’s floor this week:

•SB276INTERNAL INFANT SAFE SLEEP POLICY -- to require the Department of Health to establish the Safe Sleep Education Program, hospitals and freestanding birthing centers to implement an infant safe sleep screening policy, and certain persons and entities to adopt an internal infant safe sleep policy.

•SB277COMMISSION ON INFANT MORTALITY -- create a commission on infant mortality

•SB278SUDDEN INFANT DEATH -- to require the completion of a sudden unexplained infant death investigation reporting form (SUIDI reporting form) developed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or an alternative reporting form developed by the Director of Health, whenever a child one year of age or younger dies suddenly when in apparent good health and to require that the appropriate child fatality review board receive a copy of each completed form

•SB279PRENATAL GROUP HEALTH CARE PILOT PROGRAM -- to require the Director of Health to establish and operate a prenatal group health care pilot program that is based on the centering pregnancy model of care

•SB280MEDICAID-POSTPARTUM CARE -- requiring that case management services for postpartum care be included in the Medicaid managed care system, to require the Director of Health to award grants for community-based services that are not covered by Medicaid and are intended to reduce infant mortality rates among at-risk populations