(WDEF) U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the U.S. Senate health committee, announced Senate passage of his bill to reduce infant deaths and disabilities by expanding research, education, and intervention activities related to preterm birth. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday evening.
“This bill is an important step in helping reduce the current rate of over 12 percent of Tennessee babies born preterm each year, and will help the researchers working to prevent these births from happening too early,” said Alexander. “We have made great progress since we first put the spotlight on premature birth, but it remains a leading killer of newborns and a major cause of lasting disabilities. I salute the March of Dimes for its great efforts in reducing premature births, and I urge our colleagues in the House to pass this important bill.”
The “PREEMIE” bill passed the Senate HELP Committee in February. The legislation, which Alexander introduced with Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) research and programs on preterm birth, including improving national data tracking on preterm birth, and conducting studies. The bill also reauthorizes programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed at improving the treatment and outcome for infants born premature.
The bill is supported by the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.