Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome


In Ohio in 2011, treating infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) cost more than $70 million and 19,000 inpatient days. The Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Project aims to increase identification of and compassionate withdrawal treatment for full-term infants born with NAS, and reduce length of stay (LOS) across participating sites. This initiative was designed and piloted by the Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQC), a statewide, multi-stakeholder network dedicated to improving perinatal health. Since its launch, teams have tested strategies for implementing treatment protocols to 55 Level 2 and Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Units’ (NICUs) across Ohio, and disseminated identification protocols to 52 Level 1 hospitals.

The first phase of the project engaged Level 2 and Level 3 NICUs and focused on improving the care of babies with NAS while reducing their lengths of stay by standardizing their approaches to pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic care. The second phase has introduced Orchestrated Testing into the project teams, which is a planned experimentation that engages multiple sites in more than one treatment protocol to determine which intervention or combination of interventions results in the best outcomes.

The final aim is to standardize NAS treatment protocol and see an improvement in birth outcomes for infants born with NAS. OPQC seeks to recognize these infants early upon birth and provide non-judgmental support for narcotic-addicted women and infants and connect them with outpatient support and treatment services prior to discharge.

This project is funded by the Ohio Department of Medicaid and administered by the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center. For more information about OPQC, please visit their website.