Since 2012, six out of every 10 drug-exposed infants born in Volusia and Flagler counties have been delivered at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Fla. “On any given day we can have between one and five (drug-exposed) babies in here,” said MEDNAX-affiliated neonatal nurse practitioner Alex Sweeney. Particularly in rural areas, rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome — the phrase used to describe drug-exposed infants — are rising across Florida. Treating the infants is costly because many stay for weeks and caring for them demands significant hands-on time. Those factors are stretching the limits of hospitals and the government programs that normally pay for their care. “In general, if three doctors each treat a condition differently, the length of stay has been shown to be higher,” said MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist, Dr. Joseph Perez. “But if there’s consistency, the length of stay is shorter.”

Read the full article at Daytona Beach News-Journal

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