Budget Cuts Threaten To Increase Infant Mortality

The state budget is already squeezing some programs and cutting others altogether, but some warn that budget cuts could claim lives.

Some advocacy groups say the 39 percent cut in maternity care coordination services will hit the women served by local Health Departments, and their babies, hard. The past president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society, Dr. Olson Huff says, “"Pregnancy is such a critical time. Women and families need all the support they can get during this period. Maternity Care Coordination has been extremely effective, not only in reducing infant deaths, but Medicaid costs for infant intensive care.”

In 1988 North Carolina had the worst infant mortality rate in the nation. Of 1,000 live births, 13 died that year. Huff goes as far as to say eliminating Maternity Care Coordination “is likely to return us to the infant death levels we experienced more than a decade ago."

The result of these budget cuts could be far reaching. "Local health directors have indicated that if these reductions are sustained, more than 1,100 local jobs are in jeopardy", said Lynette Tolson, Executive Director of the NC Public Health Association. "Maternity Care Coordination and other support services might last only a few months."

Advocacy groups are pleading with legislators and the Department of Health and Human Services to change course on these budget cuts.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Elvira Location: Edenton on Dec 6, 2011 at 08:30 PM
    More education is needed re teen pregnancy. Mothers already in the system should be required to be educated on the impact on society when their children are supported by the system. Their thinking patterns need to be redirected. Many are teaching their young daughters that having a baby is the new job for them. They don't understand the concept that you can earn more money working than you can relying on the system. What happened to wanting to be independent and not having to report to the system. Educate, educate!!
  • by ace Location: plymouth on Oct 21, 2009 at 02:10 PM
    If you can't afford them, don't have them. These pregnant individuals are not held resposible for theses kids or their health. Don't rely on the tax payer to take care of these kids. If the parents cannot provide for them then they should be in jail. At least there they would not multiply.
  • by Aunt B Location: greenville on Oct 21, 2009 at 09:24 AM
    If you can not support them , don't have them! There should not be medicare babies in todays society.
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