Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions releases 2015-16 legislative priorities

The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions (FAHSC) is focusing on premature births/low birth weight babies and minority health disparities for the 2015-16 legislative session. The need and requests for these areas are outlined in the 2015-2016 legislative priorities handout.

Florida received a “D” grade on the annual March of Dimes Prematurity Report Card for the high percentage of premature births, which often lead to infant mortality, high medical care costs and lifelong health issues for babies that survive. FAHSC, the statewide network for the local Healthy Start Coalitions, is requesting $5 million in recurring funds for the Healthy Start program, which would provide services for 14,124 additional pregnant women and infants and include the expansion of successful evidence-based interventions and data tracking system.

Black babies in Florida are more than twice as likely to die as white babies. The disparity gap has been consistent as infant mortality as dropped overall. FAHSC identifies the Fetal & Infant Mortality Review as a prevention model in need of expansion. Currently, 11 of 33 Coalitions have funded FIMR projects; FAHSC is requesting $1.2 million to add 11 additional FIMR projectsa nd adequately fund the existing project.