UMass Memorial failed to report 80 substance-exposed births to child services, audit finds

A state audit revealed Worcester, Mass.-based UMass Memorial Medical Center failed to report 80 substance-exposed births to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families within the required timeframe.

The audit examined the number of children born at UMass Memorial with a physical dependence on an addictive drug between January 1, 2014 and August 31, 2016. Of the 456 substance-exposed births occuring during the period, the findings suggest 80 births had not been reported to DCF within the required timeframe, while one birth was never reported.

State law requires hospital personnel caring for newborn babies to verbally report the birth of a child suffering physical or emotional injury from an addictive drug to DCF immediately. A written report is required no more than 48 hours after the verbal report.

As a result of the audit, UMass Memorial said "it will improve its protocols to ensure reports are filed in accordance with state law."

"The dedicated caregivers at our medical center work diligently to provide care for both mothers and babies in these challenging situations," a spokesperson for the hospital told the Worcester Business Journal Online.

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