While other industrialized nations are seeing a decrease in their maternal mortality rates, the United States has noted a 26% increase over a 15-year period. This is especially true for women of color: black women are nearly 4 times as likely to die from pregnancy related causes as compared to non-Hispanic white women. Postpartum hemorrhage and preeclampsia are often the leading causes of maternal death; however, suicide and overdoses are becoming increasingly more common. This information is highlighted in the March 2018 OBG Management article “,” by Lucia DiVenere, MA, Government and Political Affairs, at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).1
Although there are efforts to improve these outcomes, programs vary by state. One initiative is the perinatal quality collaboratives (PQCs), state or multistate networks of teams working to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies (see “Has your state established a perinatal quality collaborative?”).
Currently, only 33 states have a maternal mortality review committee (MMRC) comprised of an interdisciplinary team of ObGyns, nurses, and other stakeholders. The MMRC reviews each maternal death in their state and provides recommendations and policy changes to help prevent further loss of life.
Many states currently have active collaboratives, and others are in development. The CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) currently provides support for state-based PQCs in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The status of PQCs in Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming is unknown.1
The CDC can help people establish a collaborative. Visit:.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reproductive health: State Perinatal Quality Collaboratives. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pqc-states.html Updated October 17, 2017. Accessed April 4, 2018.
Preventing Maternal Deaths Act/Maternal Health Accountability Act (H.R. 1318/S. 1112) is a bipartisan, bicameral effort to reduce maternal mortality and reduce health care disparities.
The bills authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help states create or expand state MMRCs through annual grant funding of $7 million through fiscal year 2022. Through the MMRCs, the CDC would have the ability to gather data on maternal mortality and health care disparities, allowing the agency to better understand leading causes of maternal death as well as a state’s successes and pitfalls in interventions.
Currently the House bill (H.R. 1318) has 102 cosponsors () and the Senate bill (S. 1112) has 17 cosponsors ( ). Click these links to see if your representative is a cosponsor.
Not sure who your representative is? Click here to find out:.
Both the Senate and House bills have been referred to health committees. However, no advances have been made since March 2017. In order for the bills to move forward, your representatives need to hear from you.
If your representative is a cosponsor of the bill, thank them for their support, but also ask what we can do to ensure this bill becomes law.
If your representative is not a cosponsor, follow this link to email your representative:. You also can call your representative’s office and speak directly to a staff member.
When calling or emailing, highlight the following:
- I am an ObGyn and I am asking [your Representative/Senator] to support H.R. 1318 or S. 1112.
- While maternal mortality rates are decreasing in other parts of the world, they are increasing in the United States. We have the highest maternal mortality rate in the developing world.
- This bill gives all states the opportunity to have a maternal mortality review committee, allowing health care leaders to review each maternal death and analyze how further deaths can be prevented.
- Congress has invested in programs addressing infant mortality, birth defects, and preterm birth. It is time we put the same investment into saving our nation’s mothers.
- As an ObGyn, I urge you to support this bill.
More from ACOG
Want to know what other advocacy opportunities are available? Check out ACOG action at.
Share your thoughts! Send your Letter to the Editor to email@example.com. Please include your name and the city and state in which you practice.