Politics Notes

PRETERM BIRTH GUIDELINES URGED – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review updated guidelines for the prevention of preterm birth submitted by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) in August 2014. Ohio ranks worst in the nation for African American infant mortality and 48th in the nation across all births. In 2012, 1,047 Ohio babies died before their first birthday.

“We cannot afford further delay in moving forward on initiatives — many of which can be implemented with relative ease through the use of existing technologies — that have the potential to lower the rate of preterm birth in our country,” Brown wrote in the letter. “We respectfully request that HHS expedite its review of the professional organizations’ updated guidelines and develop a plan encompassing next steps to address infant mortality. Additionally, we ask that your department provide a response to last year’s letter from SMFM, ACOG, and ACNM and give full and fair consideration to the suggested guidelines issued by the professional societies.”

Leading infant and maternal health organizations SMFM, ACOG, and ACNM submitted guidelines to HHS on how to reduce preterm birth while also reducing costs. The guidelines include use of routine, universal screening for premature cervical shortening mid-pregnancy and equitable access to progesterone treatment as one strategy for reducing preterm birth.

Last week, Brown visited a patient’s home with a home health care worker from Mansfield’s Community Health Access Project (CHAP).

OHIO, MICHIGAN AND ONTARIO PARTNER TO STRENTHEN LAKE ERIE WATER QUALITY – Building upon historic changes undertaken earlier this year to improve Lake Erie water quality, Ohio has reached an agreement with Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario to achieve a 40 percent reduction in the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie’s western basin by 2025. When too much phosphorus enters the water through sources such as fertilizers, animal manure or sewage treatment plants, water becomes polluted leading to algal blooms and public health warnings.

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor is representing Ohio and signed the agreement Saturday at a meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors in Quebec City. As part of the agreement, each state will develop a plan on how they will achieve their phosphorus reduction goal, with the interim target of a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

“Lake Erie is one of our state’s crown jewels for its recreation, wildlife and economic benefits and as a key source of water for millions of Ohioans,” Taylor said. “While we have made tremendous progress in protecting Lake Erie over the past four years, there is more work to do and by working in unison with our Great Lakes neighbors we can make even more progress to improve the water quality in our Great Lakes.”

TASK FORCE FINDINGS CHALLENGED – Drug Free Action Alliance challenges the legitimacy of the findings of the task force headed up by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that were touted at the “Ohio Marijuana Policy Reform Symposium” that took place on The Ohio State University campus last week.

ResponsibleOhio, the political action committee, striving to carve a cartel monopoly into Ohio’s Constitution making ten extremely wealthy groups even wealthier, purchased, in part, the time and work of the individuals who participated in the report.

The report issued by Prosecutor Deters and ResponsibleOhio, was not a process upon which good policy is created. It lacked transparency through the process, community and expert input and reads like a document filled with campaign propaganda that this monopoly hopes will dupe Ohio’s citizens into voting for the worst public policy to ever come before the Ohio voters.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital just released a report focusing on the harms to children, especially very young children, in states that have already taken on this risky social experiment. There is a surge in accidental exposures to our most vulnerable, putting their health and safety in jeopardy.

This concern along with issues presented in the lengthy document indicates that Ohioans should be wary.