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On Monday, September 21, 2020, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act (H.R. 4995).
This legislation seeks to address the country’s maternal morbidity crisis through the implementation of rural obstetric networks, maternal telehealth programs, staff-focused implicit bias training, and integrated health care services for pregnant and postpartum women.
In a statement applauding its passage, the president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) urged the U.S. Senate to pass and sign the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act into law by the end of 2020.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of the Medicaid program, which already plays a critical role in maternity care—covering 43 percent of births nationwide. By also passing H.R. 4996, the House and Senate would support state efforts to extend Medicaid coverage beyond the standard 60 days to one year postpartum and close critical coverage gaps for women after pregnancy,” the statement read.
If signed into law, H.R. 4995 will provide $65 million annually for perinatal quality collaboratives, which unite health care providers to develop and implement programs to address underlying causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. It would also provide medical and nursing schools $5 million annually for courses on reducing and preventing discrimination with implicit bias training.