WASHINGTON, DC — September 10, 2019 — Congressman Eliot L. Engel’s Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, H.R. 1551, was featured in an Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing today.
This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would help address the nation’s ongoing maternal health crisis, which claimed 700 lives last year and caused an additional 50,000 women to experience maternal morbidity such as hemorrhaging or kidney failure.
“It is unacceptable that the United States spends the most on health care yet has some of the worst outcomes for mothers and babies,” said Rep. Engel. “My legislation, which I introduced with my colleague Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), would help address this public health crisis by leveraging federal health programs that cover more than a quarter of children living in NY-16.”
Video of Rep. Engel’s remarks from the hearing can be found here.
Maternal health outcomes in the United States have increasingly become worse. According to the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, the U.S. is just one of three countries where maternal deaths have increased. These health outcomes become worse when they are broken down by racial and ethnic groups. In New York City, black women are almost 8 to 12 times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related death than white women.
The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act would bring together diverse stakeholders to identify care quality benchmarks for women and children as well as fund new and existing maternity and infant care quality collaboratives.
Care quality collaboratives are on the frontline of addressing this crisis. The New York State Quality Collaborative has developed resources to address the leading causes of maternal deaths in New York, which include hypertension and hemorrhaging. These resources were distributed to over 126 birthing hospitals in the state.
The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act has been endorsed by: March of Dimes, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Lamaze International, March for Moms, National Partnership for Women & Families and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
BACKGROUND: The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act builds on Rep. Engel’s past work to improve maternal health outcomes. Last Congress, he was a cosponsor of the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which passed the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the House of Representatives with his support. This legislation was signed into law on December 21, 2018.
The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act provides states with resources to establish Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs), which review cases of maternal deaths and then propose state-level solutions to prevent them in the future. The state of New York created its MMRC on August 1, 2019.
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SOURCE: Bryant Daniels | Communications & Deputy District Director | Congressman Eliot L. Engel