March of Dimes Says the PREEMIE Act Saves Lives. Does It?
Posted Nov 19 2012 8:30pm
Saving children's lives. Nothing could be nobler right?
According to a November 15 March of Dimes press release “The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will save infants’ lives," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes. “Tonight the Senate took a vital step toward ensuring a healthy start for our nation’s infants."
The release goes on to say “Our efforts are bearing fruit,” Dr. Howse added. “Preterm birth rates have now dropped for five consecutive years after rising steadily for three decades. The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act will continue to fuel our progress by supporting federal research and promoting known interventions and community initiatives."
"Really?" asks the Disease Management Care Blog. What about the dozens of lecturers, professors and colleagues that have told the DMCB that preterm birth rates have remained stubbornly unchanged for decades?
Enter the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act that was just passed by the U.S. Senate. It doesn't appear to authorize any funding, but it essentially continues the activities contained in the original 2006 legislation by striking out the term "2011" and replacing it with "2017."
Based on the March of Dimes press release quotes above, it appears that the organization is crediting the 2006 PREEMIE with the nationwide drop in preterm birth rates. The basis for this is March of Dimes data that can be found here . If you look at the upper right hand corner, you can see that the prematurity rate went from 12.8% in 2006 (when the law was passed) to a preliminary measure of 11.7% in 2011.
Next step for PREEMIE is the House of Representatives. The DMCB isn't advocating for or against PREEMIE, but it hopes a second look in our bicameral legislative process prompts a more rigorous and complete examination of the outcomes associated with this piece of legislation.