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Grassley, Wyden Seek Information, Solutions to Improve Maternal Health

March 03,2020

Washington Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley
(R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are today calling on
stakeholders to submit data and findings on factors contributing to poor
maternal health outcomes in the United States. The Senate Finance Committee
leaders are also requesting specific, evidence-based solutions to address those
factors and improve maternal health.

of maternal mortality and morbidity are reaching crisis levels. There is
widespread consensus among policy experts and stakeholders that pregnancy and
childbirth too often include adverse events for women and infants, including
death and other negative outcomes. According to a 2019
by the World Health Organization and others, the maternal mortality
rate in the US is 19 per 100,000 live births, compared to 7 per 100,000 in the
UK and 6 per 100,000 in Australia. Similar disparities also exist when it comes
to rates of negative health outcomes caused or aggravated by pregnancy and
childbirth. Within the United States, the maternal health crisis particularly
affects women of color who, on average, experience worse outcomes, as well as
women living in rural areas.   


have the opportunity and resources to make real improvements in maternal health.
There’s no reason why our country should lag behind others when it comes to
health during pregnancy and during the postpartum period. These deaths are
tragic and avoidable, and I look forward to reviewing the recommendations and
working on a legislative path forward,” Grassley said.

a country that spends as much on health care as the United States, American
mothers should not have to fear for the well-being of their child or themselves
during or after a pregnancy,” Wyden said. “This effort aims to find
legislative solutions this year that help improve access to care, address
disparities in maternal health including those that disproportionately affect
women of color, and ensure pregnant and postpartum individuals receive the
comprehensive, high-quality, and safe care they deserve. Expecting mothers and
their loved ones cannot wait for the health care system to improve their care –
it’s time for Congress to act.”

date, Congress has considered a number of initiatives aimed at addressing
maternal health. Proposals within the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance
Committee include extending Medicaid and CHIP coverage for individuals during
the postpartum period; ensuring the full range of comprehensive benefits for
pregnant and postpartum women; advancing evidence-based maternity care models;
improving access to and collaboration among health care providers including
non-physician providers; advancing quality measures, collaboration,
coordination and reporting for maternal and infant health; among others.

committee asks for specific feedback on the policies included in these proposed
initiatives. Additionally, the committee welcomes input on other evidence-based
policies to improve maternal health including, but not limited to, those that
fall into the following areas:

1.      Use of non-physician
clinicians and continuity, coordination of care
. Proposals may include
incorporating more certified nurse midwives and other non-physician health
professionals into the maternal health landscape, as well as proposals to
improve continuity of care, and coordination of care that include local
community partners.

2.      Coverage and standards of
care to improve maternal health
. Such proposals may seek to improve access to,
comprehensiveness, and affordability of coverage as well as policies to reform
payment models within the Medicaid program to improve maternal health.

3.      Addressing disparities
and disparate outcomes
. Such proposals may include those advancing policies to help
address disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity that affect women of
color and other populations experiencing high rates of adverse outcomes
including those living in rural areas. 

4.      Data collection and
effective evaluation to improve outcomes and quality
. Submissions may review
existing definitions, standards, and evaluation methods, as well as include
other proposals for states and other relevant stakeholders to collect, analyze,
and report on data to improve outcomes and quality of care for pregnant and
post-partum women.

5.      Social services aimed at
supporting mother and child wellbeing
. Recommendations may include social services
with an evidence base suggesting that services may mitigate health risks
associated with the perinatal period, improved health and social service
coordination, or other efforts to address non-medical needs that affect the
wellbeing of mothers and children at risk for adverse outcomes.

order to be considered, proposals must be submitted on a timely basis, be
within the committee’s jurisdiction, and specific to Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s
Health Insurance Program), Medicare and human services. Any submitted
recommendation should be evidence-based and include relevant data or research.
Proposals should be reasonably expected to have a direct impact on maternal
health including maternal mortality or morbidity.

send submissions to [email protected]
no later than March 20, 2020. The committee will use this process to
develop and advance meaningful policies to address maternal health that can be
included in the most appropriate and timely legislative vehicle. Senate Finance
Committee members and staff look forward to robust stakeholder input on this
critical issue.



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