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Kentucky's rates of infant mortality and premature births among highest in the nation

Mar 4th, 2013

Kentucky has some of the highest rates of infant mortality and premature births in the United States.  Lack of access to prenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, and drug abuse contribute to these rates.  The efforts to bring these rates down emphasize the role of obstetric and primary care physicians, community health programs, and health education, but there are several ways ER physicians can help.

Many causes of infant mortality or near-mortality stem from parental drug abuse, pre- and postnatal.  ER physicians can help curb prescription drug abuse by following guidlines for responsible prescribing.  Learn more here.

Medicaid MCOs and private insurers have developed initiatives to improve the health of mothers, their pregnancies, and their infants.  Point patients to their MCO for resources like prenatal nutrition and smoking cessation.

The Kentucky Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program offers valuable resources for first-time parents.  An expansion program for all other new or expectant parents is available in many counties.  Learn more about HANDS.


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