SECTION 1. Chapter 38 of the general laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following section: --
Section 2B. As used in this section, the term below shall have the following meaning: -
“Authorized local health agency”, shall mean a health board, department, or other governmental entity that is authorized by the department of public health to receive timely data relative to fetal and infant deaths for assessing, planning, improving and monitoring the service systems and community resources that support child and maternal health.
“Fetal death”, shall have the same meaning as appears in section 202 of chapter 111.
The department of public health shall establish a process for designating authorized local health agencies. This process may include reasonable criteria regarding the level of expertise, workforce capacity, or organizational capacity. Authorized local health agencies shall be authorized to conduct in-depth fetal infant mortality review of each individual infant and fetal death occurring within their jurisdiction, in order to identify local factors associated with fetal and infant deaths and inform public health policy programs.
For each case of fetal or infant death to be reviewed, authorized local health agencies are hereby authorized to collect relevant data from a variety of sources, which may include physician and hospital records in addition to relevant community program records. Authorized local health agencies are authorized to collect, and the department is authorized to provide, timely access to vital records and other data reasonably necessary for fetal and infant mortality review.
The department may issue additional guidance through policy or regulation, consistent with this section, regarding the process for conducting fetal infant mortality reviews by authorized local health agencies, which may include guidance from the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program.
All data and records created or maintained pursuant to this section shall be confidential, and shall not be subject to public records nor subject to subpoena or civil processes nor admissible in evidence in connection with any judicial, executive, legislative or other proceeding.
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