Pennsylvania’s MOMNIBUS addresses Pennsylvania’s maternal mortality through investments

Act 24 of 2018 established the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee

HARRISBURG, April 12 – Following the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee’s report, the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus advocated for investments in maternal health care and passage of Pennsylvania’s MOMNIBUS, a legislative package of eight bills to improve maternal health outcomes.

Black Pennsylvanians had the highest pregnancy-associated mortality ratio at 148 per 100,000 live births, which is nearly twice as much as white Pennsylvanians who had a PAMR at 81 per 100,000 live births, highlighting racial disparities in maternal health care.

“Racial disparities in maternal health outcomes stem from systemic racism, implicit bias, and social determinants of health,” said Rep. Morgan Cephas, co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “With nearly 10% of pregnancy-related deaths reporting discrimination, we must address implicit bias in health care. I have introduced legislation as part of Pennsylvania’s MOMNIBUS that would require Pennsylvania’s health care professionals receive training on implicit bias as part of their continuing education requirements. With Philadelphia reporting 20% of all maternal deaths in Pennsylvania, I am laser focused on addressing this maternal health crisis and improving birthing outcomes head on through the MOMNIBUS.”

BMH Caucus Co-Chair and Rep. Gina H. Curry said, “For Black Pennsylvanians, mental health conditions and embolism cause 20% of pregnancy-related deaths. My legislation, H.B. 2127, would make mental health care services more accessible for pregnant and postpartum patients, ensuring they receive treatment so we may prevent these maternal deaths. As mental health conditions are the leading cause of maternal deaths and substance use disorder contributed to the deaths in 41% of cases, we must destigmatize mental health care – especially for those with perinatal depression and postpartum depression – and SUDs.”

“Through the MOMNIBUS, we have opportunities to improve maternal health care outcomes in Pennsylvania by requiring health insurance and Medicaid to cover blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum enrollees, ensuring that they may screen for hypertension, which affects 10% of pregnancies in the U.S. and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, BMH co-chair. “By enacting recommendations included in the MMRC’s report, we would destigmatize mental and behavioral health care, increase screenings so health care providers may proactively treat patients, provide for education on sexual and reproductive health, expand Medicaid coverage to make maternal health care more accessible for low-income, pregnant or postpartum enrollees, and so much more.”

The co-chairs noted that the committee would issue a report on severe maternal morbidity at a later date.


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