U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Wednesday praised the signing into law of his bill to reduce infant deaths and disabilities by expanding research, education, and intervention activities related to premature birth.
“This is an important step to help reduce the rate of premature births in Tennessee, which is over 12 percent," said Senator Alexander. "Our legislation will help doctors and researchers working on saving infant lives and preventing births from happening too early. We have made great progress since we first put the spotlight on premature birth, but it remains the leading killer of newborns and a major cause of lasting disabilities.”
Senator Alexander introduced the “PREEMIE” bill with committee member Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), which passed the HELP Committee in February and cleared both houses of Congress in early November. The legislation reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 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 also includes two provisions: the CHIMP Act Amendments to ensure the National Institutes of Health is able to continue caring for the chimpanzees it owns; and a provision to create a National Pediatric Research Network to encourage collaboration among researchers and optimize pediatric research.
The legislation 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, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the Association of State & Territorial Health Officials, and the National Association of County & City Health Officials.