Federal Legislative Issues Relating to Preterm Infants

President Signs Preemie Reauthorization Act into Law

On November 27, 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 252, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, a bill to reauthorize federal research, education, and intervention activities related to preterm birth and infant mortality. “The PREEMIE Act represents the federal government’s commitment to reducing the devastating toll of preterm birth,” stated Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes.

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Newborn Screening Legislation Introduced

Newborn Screening Legislation Introduced

The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act (S1417/H1281) was recently introduced in the US Congress by Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Mike Simpson (R-IN). This legislation renews critical federal programs to ensure all infants receive comprehensive and lifesaving newborn screening. Check out the March of Dimes Web site for more information, or urge your Representative to cosponsor this important legislation.

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Urge Congress to Protect Early Intervention Programs for Preterm Infants

Children who are at increased risk for developmental problems include those born very prematurely or at very low birth weight, as well as those with known neurological abnormality or at birth and those who are very ill during the newborn period. While most preterm infants and many children with other serious neonatal conditions eventually develop beyond any problems associated with their early experiences, frequently there are developmental issues that need to be addressed as early as possible in order to prevent further complications (such as growth problems in children with feeding difficulties and language delays in children with hearing loss).

If your baby experienced difficulties at birth that increase his or her chances for developmental difficulties, you may have been invited to participate in a high-risk follow-up program. Follow-up programs exist to track the progress of children who have an increased likelihood of developmental problems that tend to appear gradually over the first several years of life. These developmental problems include major handicapping conditions, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, blindness and deafness, but also include more common issues like developmental delays, growth problems, and various types of sensory impairment (vision and hearing problems). Early identification of developmental difficulties is believed to be critical to the success of treatments for these conditions.

Above excerpt taken from the Children's Disabilities Information website.

Part C Early Intervention programs are one example of a high-risk follow up program; for more information visit the ECTA Center website.

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