Governor Eric J. Holcomb Thursday signed SEA 360 at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent. The bill requires the Indiana State Department of Health to certify levels of care for mothers and babies at hospitals and birthing centers. Joining him at the signing were State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box and St. Vincent Hospital CEO Jonathan Nalli as well as the bill’s author, state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, and sponsor, Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer. In the past, Indiana birthing facilities designated their own levels of care based on national standards. Surveys performed by the state health department in recent years found inconsistencies in how hospitals rated themselves, creating confusion for patients trying to determine the right place to deliver their babies.
“We know we can’t fix our state’s infant mortality problem overnight, but this bill will help us save Hoosier lives,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I commend lawmakers for working with our Department of Health and Indiana’s health care providers on the front lines to advance this important legislation.”
In 2016, 623 babies did not live past one year of age in Indiana. To help turnaround this tragic trend, Gov. Holcomb set a goal for Indiana to be the best state in the Midwest for infant mortality rates by 2024. Studies show states with Levels of Care programs like the one created in SEA 360 have lower infant mortality rates, lower health care costs and better outcomes. Adopting these nationally recognized levels of care and implementing them consistently across all Indiana birthing facilities gives mothers and babies the best possible chance for a safe, successful delivery and start to life.
“In my 30 years as an obstetrician and gynecologist, I have seen firsthand the importance of having women deliver their babies at a facility that is equipped to meet their needs,” Indiana Health Commissioner Kristina Box said. “That’s why I am proud that Indiana is adopting Levels of Care.”
Photo: *Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and Sen. Ed Charbonneau seated left to right for the bill signing. Physicians and hospital administrators from the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent stand behind them, with Dr. Kristina Box pictured second from the right.