Mayes’ legislation to expand Medicaid coverage for blood pressure monitors advances to House

Screenings for hypertension decrease maternal mortality

HARRISBURG, April 17 – Today, Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny, and members of the House Health Committee voted 22-2 to report out Mayes’ legislation to expand Medicaid coverage of blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum enrollees.

“Recently, the Maternal Mortality Review Committee issued its recommendations to address Pennsylvania’s maternal health crisis, including advising for more screenings to detect hypertension,” Mayes said. “My legislation would expand Medicaid’s coverage of blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum enrollees, ensuring detection of high blood pressure so they may receive treatment from their health care providers. Currently, hypertension causes one in six maternal deaths and hospitalizations for hypertensive disorders of pregnancies increased from 13% to 2017 to 16% in 2019.

“In a recent study, allowing patients to monitor their blood pressure in the comfort of their own home prompted 42% to take medication to lower their blood pressure, 15% to receive treatment at the hospital, and almost all women attended their postpartum appointments, as well as reported satisfaction with monitoring their blood pressure from home. By providing for this coverage, we assist low-income Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medicaid, ensuring they have access to affordable health care, and also reduce preeclampsia, which threatens the lives of those pregnant or postpartum.

“With this legislation, we will improve outcomes for maternal health, Black maternal health, and women’s health overall.”

The bill is part of Pennsylvania’s MOMNIBUS, a legislative package of eight bills to improve maternal health outcomes.