Robyn Begley, DNP, R.N.
Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
American Hospital Association
May 7, 2019
Across the country, hospitals and health systems are redoubling our efforts to make sure women have safe pregnancies and positive health outcomes across the continuum of care. Moms and families deserve the safest and highest quality care that addresses their specific needs. The causes for the escalating rates of maternal mortality range from a lack of consistent access to comprehensive care to persistent racial disparities in health and health care. We know that more needs to be done to reduce our nation’s maternal mortality rate and we are committed to reversing this trend.
As part of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Better Health for Mothers and Babies initiative, hospitals have created an action plan focused on evaluating and acting on our data; examining disparities; engaging mothers and families; and partnering with clinicians and stakeholders in our community.
Recently, hospitals supported the Joint Commission’s proposed standards on perinatal safety, which would ensure that we are in the best position to provide the highest quality of care to our patients—from complication-specific training and drills to evidence-based procedures and responses that will ensure the most medically appropriate and effective course of treatment.
Further, recognizing the need for aggressive federal action to address this crisis, the AHA supports numerous provisions of the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness Act (H.R. 1897/S. 916)—bicameral legislation that would improve and standardize data collection; disseminate best practices; extend coverage in Medicaid and CHIP from 60 days to one year for postpartum women; extend Special Supplemental Nutrition program eligibility from one year to two years for postpartum women; fund an Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health grant program and state-based perinatal quality collaboratives; and establish regional centers of excellence to address implicit bias and improve cultural competency in patient-provider interactions.
As hospitals and health systems continue to address maternal mortality, we look forward to continued work with partners in the field, policymakers and community organizations to improve outcomes and reduce health inequities for expectant and new mothers, and give their children the best start in life.
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