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2017 Legislation Introduced to Save Mothers... in the United States

2017 Legislation Introduced to Save Mothers... in the United States

Maternova is fiercely proud to announce that we - along with various organizations committed to supporting improvements in maternal and child health - are among the signatories on the official letter of support for an important bill in the United States House of Representatives and a companion bill in the United States Senate.

The Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2017, was recently introduced in the Senate  as a companion bill to the existing Preventing Maternal Deaths Act  introduced by Representatives Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). At the core, both acts aim to “support States in their work to save and sustain the health of mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the postpartum period, to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes for pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths, to identify solutions to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes for mother."

Both of these pieces of legislation come at a crucial time; despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world with some of the most brilliant doctors and medical technologies, the US has some of the worst maternal death rates in the developed world. Maternal death rates have risen steadily since the late 1980s, from 7.2 per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 17.8 in 2011 (CDC, 2015). It is important to note that there are considerable racial disparities associated with these numbers. According to the CDC, maternal death rate for black mothers is 42.8 per 100,000 live births while for white mothers, the number is much lower, at about 12.5 per 100,000 live births. Furthermore, many of these deaths occur under preventable circumstances that we firmly believe can be changed.  States like California, with a maternal mortality rate at one third of the national average, lead the way for practical clinical approaches to reduce maternal deaths.  

So how exactly does the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2017 plan on tackling this daunting problem? It wants to improve and support state Maternal Mortality Review Committees in their mission to identify locally relevant ways to prevent future deaths and promote national information sharing through the CDC so states can collaborate and learn from best practices. Data will be used to inform demonstration projects to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes.

Maternova strongly supports all of the legislators who sponsored this bill, and we are ready to work with them to achieve passage of the legislation so that we can begin to inform change, improve health quality, reduce healthcare costs, and save lives.

By Vivian Shih


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