WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded Senate passage of the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act, a bipartisan health bill that will help to address the more than 25,000 stillbirths that occur in the United States every year. Chairman Harkin led the bill to HELP Committee passage earlier this week. This is the 26th bipartisan bill Harkin has led to Senate passage. As chairman, Harkin has led 21 bipartisan HELP Committee bills to be signed into law in the 113th Congress.
“For families around the country who have lost a child to stillbirth, sudden unexpected infant death, or sudden unexplained death in childhood, Senate passage of this bill is strong step forward,” Harkin said. “Passing the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act will strengthen lifesaving outreach efforts and help to enhance surveillance and data collection. The critical federal programs supported by this bill are key to better understanding and eventually preventing these tragic deaths. I urge my colleagues in the House to quickly pass this important bill and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.”
The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act will continue activities related to data collection on stillbirth, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), and sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC). The bill also promotes the dissemination of information on stillbirth and sudden unexpected infant death to the public and stakeholders as well as fostering collaboration with the Attorney General and others to provide consistent information for medical examiners and coroners, law enforcement personnel, and health care providers related to death scene investigations and autopsies.
Additionally, the bill calls on the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report to Congress on HHS activities on stillbirth, SUID, and SUDC, including a description of any activities carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.