December 03, 2019
Congressional Maternal and Childbirth Outcomes Legislative Highlights
By: Molly Giammarco | 0 Comments
Much of Lamaze International’s advocacy efforts focus on monitoring and influencing federal activity in Congress and with the Executive agencies (mainly the Department of Health and Human Services) that fund and facilitate maternal- and childbirth-improvement initiatives. As you can imagine, the number of federal efforts that address maternal mortality continues to grow, alongside national calls to combat current mortality statistics.
This momentum is promising. Equally promising is the various collaborative approaches policymakers take to identify and address maternal mortality and morbidity. Effective solutions require multiple approaches, as there is often not one cause—and often not one solution.
The Lamaze advocacy team continuously tracks bills relevant to maternal and childbirth health and would like to highlight a few that Lamaze currently supports. Those who attend the Lamaze Childbirth Advocacy Summit in May 2020 will receive more information on the bills relevant to Lamaze—and much will happen with new and existing bills between now and May. This is just a summary for some of the prominent bills currently tracking in the U.S. Congress. This is not a comprehensive list of bills relating to maternal and/or child health outcomes; Lamaze is tracking many bills that seek to improve maternal and childbirth outcomes. Stay tuned.
H.R. 1551/S. 1960, the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act
Introduced in both the House (Reps. Eliot Engel (D) and Steve Stivers (R)) and the Senate (Senators Debbie Stabenow (D) and Susan Collins (R)), this bill has made appearances in earlier Congresses and is back again with strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. The bill would establish maternal and infant quality metrics, create a grant program to develop and enhance state-based maternal and infant collaboratives, as well as develop a consumer-satisfaction survey to gather data on patients’ practitioner, payer, and facility experiences.
Lamaze has signed several letters stakeholder letters supporting this bill and continues to look for opportunities to help advance it through Congress.
H.R. 1897/S. 916, the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA’s) Act
The MOMMA’s Act would establish protocol for sharing best practices among maternal mortality review committees, standardize data maternal mortality data reporting, extend Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum, and develop culturally competent care modules to ensure that all women receive appropriate maternal and postpartum care.
Another recycled bill from the previous Congress, Rep. Robin Kelly (D) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D) are championing the MOMMA’s Act, which currently only has Democrat sponsors. Lamaze supports this bill because of its intent to standardize maternal mortality data collection, its focus on cultural competencies, and its attention to establishing and communicating best practices.
H.R. 5189, the Birth Access Benefiting Improved Essential Facility Services (BABIES) Act
The BABIES Act would establish a demonstration project for Birth and Health Centers in underserved communities throughout the United States. These centers would serve as maternity care entry points and facilitate referrals to appropriate care providers as necessary. The bill would promote and support birth centers and increase access to local, comprehensive care for those in remote or underserved areas.
The project’s associated evaluation method would generate more data on birth center efficacy and other similar initiatives. Many Lamaze educators work closely with birth centers; this bill would increase access to these centers, as well as to childbirth education.
The BABIES Act is a bipartisan effort that Reps. Katherine Clark (D) and Buddy Carter (R) introduced in late November.
Lamaze also continues to advocate for legislative initiatives that explicitly include and/or promote childbirth education. Stay tuned for more developments as we continue advocacy efforts.
About Molly Giammarco
Molly Giammarco has consulted for professional healthcare associations for more than eight years. As Lamaze International’s Senior Manager for Policy & Government Relations, Molly monitors legislation regulations related to maternal and child health, as well as advises the Lamaze Advocacy + Collaboration Committee.
Molly received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and her master’s degree in public policy from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.
TagsLamaze International Advocacy Molly Giammarco Advocacy Summit Advocacy & Collaboration Committee