May 06, 2020
U.S. General Accountability Office Reports on Federal and State Initiatives to Address Maternal Mortality
By: Molly Giammarco, MPP | 0 Comments
In April, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) released its assessment of the federal government’s current programs and efforts to address maternal mortality through its report, Trends in Pregnancy-Related Deaths and Federal Efforts to Reduce Them. The GAO analysis focused on the U.S. maternal mortality increase between 2007 and 2016, the annual morality ratio fluctuation, and how the leading causes of death varied by racial ethnic group. The Report stated that between 2007 and 2016, cardiovascular complications, infection, and hemorrhage accounted for 50 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths.
The GAO Report focused on pregnancy-related mortality trends in the United States as well as the U.S. Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to reduce pregnancy-related deaths. Currently, HHS has 13 initiatives to help reduce maternal mortality, such as support for the Maternal Mortality Review Committees Cooperative Agreements and the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant Program.
In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of HHS, awarded 24 five-year cooperative agreements to assist state entities that oversee Maternal Mortality Review Committees. This effort coincides with Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which became law in December 2018.
Through the Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS funds the MCH Services Block Grant Program, which supports state services to improve maternal and child health through review committees, quality collaboratives, and maternity-specific bundled payment programs. HHS administers these block grants through Title V of the U.S. Social Security Act.
To inform its Report’s analysis, the GAO selected five U.S. states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, and Texas because of their geographic diversity and their progress is establishing Maternal Mortality Review Committees, Perinatal Quality Collaboratives, and maternal-care payment bundles. GAO analysts interviewed state officials about their respective state’s efforts to combat pregnancy-related deaths and found that each of the five states had devoted block-grant funds and other funding sources to develop initiatives to address racial/ethnic-related maternal-mortality disparities, as well as disparities among specific populations within their states.
These programs help address the current maternal mortality rates as well as generate data that will help guide future efforts. As more data informs maternal-mortality trends and the impact that current programming has on reducing these rates, policymakers, community leaders, and healthcare personnel can fine-tune and push effective measures to combat maternal mortality across all populations within the United States.
Read the GAO’s Highlights Page
Read the full GAO Report
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.
TagsAdvocacy Maternal mortality Molly Giammarco Advocacy & Collaboration Committee Preventing Maternal Deaths Act Maternal Mortality Review Committees