20% of Low-Birthweight Calif. Babies Not Referred to Follow-Up Care
One-fifth of very-low-birthweight infants born in California are not referred to the state's follow-up care program, despite their increased risk for neurological and developmental problems, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, EdSource reports.
Details of Study
The study was conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from 2010 and 2011 on 10,433 infants born weighing less than 3.3 pounds.
According to EdSource, babies born at or below 3.3 pounds typically are referred to California's High Risk Infant Follow Up program, where they receive care and various diagnostic assessments until they turn three years old.
The study found that 20% of very-low-birthweight babies were not referred to the follow-up program (Frey, EdSource, 1/27).
Babies were less likely to receive referrals for the program if they were:
- African American;
- Hispanic; or
- Larger in size (Mongeau, "Early Years," Education Week, 1/27).
According to study author Susan Hintz, referral rates averaged about:
- 65% among low-volume hospitals;
- 85% among high-volume hospitals; and
- 95% at one-third of California's largest neonatal intensive care units.
Hintz said referral rates seem to have increased since 2011 (EdSource, 1/27).
In a statement, she added, "The good news is that this data [were] collected relatively early in the state's revitalized program for high-risk infant follow-up" ("Early Years," Education Week, 1/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.