WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, and Robin Kelly (D-IL2) re-introduced the bipartisan Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act, a bill aimed at reducing maternal deaths in the United States. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act would help improve health outcomes for pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid by establishing best practices for maternal care providers and increasing information and resources to better monitor and treat at-risk pregnancies.
“I am proud to partner with Representatives Robin Kelly and Senators Pat Toomey and Sherrod Brown to lead bipartisan legislation that will make significant strides to help states and health care providers save the lives of expecting mothers,” Latta said. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that two-thirds of deaths during pregnancy and childbirth are preventable. We can and must do more so that no one else is losing their life during pregnancy and childbirth. The Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act will help save lives by ensuring all expecting mothers have the care and resources they need to have a safe pregnancy.”
“It’s clear that we can and must do more to protect mothers’ lives,” Kelly said. “The time has come for action, and the Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act is an important step. We’ve already lost too many mothers to this crisis. It’s incumbent upon us to honor their lives with meaningful legislation that will prevent another mother from needlessly dying or another family from being torn apart.”
The bill would establish best practices for all Medicaid-covered maternal care providers and clinicians to better screen, monitor and treat at-risk pregnancies. Studies have shown that pregnant women on Medicaid are more likely to experience higher rates of severe maternal morbidity and morality than pregnant women with private health insurance. Medicaid beneficiaries — overrepresented by low-income communities and people of color — experience higher rates of chronic illnesses and are at higher risk of adverse health outcomes.
The act would also create a diverse, representative National Advisory Committee on Reducing Maternal Deaths to:
· Establish best practices for all Medicaid-covered maternal care providers and clinicians to screen, monitor, and treat at-risk pregnancies;
· Generate culturally competent materials to help inform pregnant women of potential risks during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum; and
· Identify best practice for tracking maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity trends.
The Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act would also require a report informing Congress on policies that may assist states in reducing maternal deaths.
Each year, 700 to 900 American mothers die from pregnancy-related complications. As with nearly all health disparities, women of color, especially Black and Native American moms, bear the burden of this crisis. Nationally, Black mothers die at 3 to 4 times the rate of white mothers.