Legislation to improve maternity care, infant mortality

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) this week introduced the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act. The bill will improve maternity care for women and newborns aimed at better healthcare outcomes for mothers and lower rates of infant mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio has the eighth highest rate of overall infant mortality in the country, with 7.4 infant deaths per 1,000 births.

“Too many Ohio families have had to endure the tragedy of a young life cut short,” Brown said. “By improving the quality of care for mothers and babies, and taking a more comprehensive healthcare approach, we will help ensure Ohio moms and babies get the best care possible and help address the disparities in maternal and infant mortality in Ohio.”

The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act will improve maternity care for women and newborns by holding Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program accountable through higher quality standards. Medicaid currently has a set of guidelines for pediatric and adult care but no specific standards for maternity and infant care.

The legislation will also provide funding for care quality partnerships that will bring together states, health care providers, insurance companies, and other stakeholders to develop and carry out new strategies to improve maternity and infant care.

In 2014, President Obama signed Brown’s bipartisan legislation, the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act, into law. Brown’s bill helps doctors and researchers better understand the causes of stillbirths, Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID), and Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Childhood (SUDC). This legislation builds on existing activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve upon the quality and consistency of data collected during death scene investigations and autopsies to better inform prevention and intervention efforts related to stillbirths, SUID, and SUDC.