Health and Human Services

Stillbirth review proposal advanced

A bill that would expand state review of child deaths to allow inclusion of stillbirths advanced from general file March 2.

Sen. Wendy DeBoer
Sen. Wendy DeBoer

LB741, as introduced by Bennington Sen. Wendy DeBoer, would allow the State Child and Maternal Death Review Team to review stillbirths that occurr after Jan. 1, 2023, to help identify preventable causes of stillbirths.

Under the bill, the review team is not required to review all stillbirths, DeBoer said, but the provisions would allow it or any agency that derives its authority from the state Department of Health and Human Services to access and analyze stillbirth data. She added that approximately one in five stillbirths are preventable.

“LB741 offers an avenue for trained clinical teams to review these deaths and make recommendations to prevent these heartbreaking outcomes,” DeBoer said.

The Health and Human Services Committee offered an amendment that would add provisions of LB626, introduced by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, to the bill. The amendment would separate the State Child and Maternal Death Review Team into the State Child Death Review Team and the State Maternal Death Review Team. Each group would submit an annual report to the Legislature.

The amendment also would define a stillbirth as a spontaneous fetal death that occurs between 20 weeks gestation and birth and results in the issuance of a fetal death certificate.

Vargas said the amendment would formalize the separate purview of each review team and promote maternal and infant health.

“These goals cannot be met without access to timely and accurate data,” he said.

Senators adopted the committee amendment on a 44-0 vote and advanced LB741 to select file 44-0.

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