COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON NEW NAS LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON – As West Virginia sees new statistics on number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, Congress is a step closer to acting on policies championed by U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) to help address this issue.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing Wednesday afternoon on a number of proposed bills addressing the opioid crisis, including a bill pushed by Rep. Jenkins to implement best practices in treating NAS.
The proposal, the Protecting NAS Babies Act, would act on the findings of the Government Accountability Office’s study on NAS, which was written thanks to legislation introduced by Rep. Jenkins.
“Suffering through withdrawal from exposure to drugs such as heroin and other opioids is a horrific way to start one’s life, but tragically that’s still the reality for too many newborns in West Virginia. This report included a number of best practices that, when implemented, will increase access to care and help these newborns heal.
“Places in West Virginia like Lily’s Place and Cabell Huntington Hospital are leading the way with cutting-edge care, and we must make sure that all healthcare facilities are using the most updated and appropriate care methods. I hope Congress will act quickly to pass legislation to implement these best practices and give more children the best chance for a healthy start in life,” Rep. Jenkins said.
The report, “Protecting Our Infants Act: Final Strategy,” has clearly defined recommendations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has yet to implement or develop a strategy to implement.
The report recommends several practices to address NAS and improve treatment for these newborns, including providing more access and education for parents, including early intervention efforts. It also promotes establishing evidence-based protocols for the identification and treatment of newborns suffering from NAS.