WASHINGTON D.C. (BRProud) – A bipartisan group of senators, including Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), announced the introduction of a bill intended to reduce maternal mortality by providing federal funding for researching, sharing, and implementing best practices related to prenatal care, labor care, birthing, and postpartum care.
The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would award grants to government agencies, health care providers, medical training facilities, and community-based health organizations for various purposes including developing new best practices to improve overall maternal health, studying ways to improve training of health care professionals, and allowing different medical teams and facilities to collaborate “across health care settings and disciplines, including primary care and mental health.”
Some provisions in the bill allow for special considerations to states with higher maternal mortality rates or to communities that face disparities in maternal health outcomes such as providing training for health care professionals on perceptions and biases that may affect the care of racial and ethnic minority populations in terms of treatments and outcomes.
In 2018, Louisiana had a maternal morbidity rate of 25.2 deaths per 100,000 live births, higher than the national average of 17.4, according to data from the nonprofit organization March of Dimes.
“Louisiana has too many mothers dying during and after giving birth. This bill supports training, resources, and providers to better care for new mothers and their babies,” said Sen. Cassidy in a press release.
Prior to being elected, Sen. Cassidy graduated from Louisiana State University’s medical school and cofounded a clinic in Baton Rouge.
If the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act passes the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to regularly report to congress on the activities of the grant recipients and disseminate best practice findings.
The bill allocates $24 million a year in grants from 2022 to 2026.
Senator Cassidy’s cosponsors on the bill include Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).