Cephas laments 40 percent increase in severe maternal morbidity

Philadelphia has been marked as the county with the fourth highest rate in the state

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 24 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas lamented that a report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council shows an alarming 40% increase in severe maternal morbidity rates in the state.

The PHC4 report indicates a rise in severe maternal morbidity among patients hospitalized in Pennsylvania for a delivery from 2016 through 2022. Severe maternal morbidity includes sudden outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant consequences to a woman’s health.

“I am overly concerned about this report because it clearly states that we have not done enough to protect women’s health in Pennsylvania,” Cephas said. “We have tirelessly worked to advance legislation aimed at preventing maternal morbidity, but we must do more,” said Cephas, former chair of the Women’s Health Caucus who has championed this issue for years.

Cephas, chair of the Philadelphia House Delegation, said that in order to improve maternal and pregnancy results it is necessary to emphasize prevention, early diagnosis and treatment.

“Maternal morbidity can affect any woman regardless their ZIP Code, but I want to point out that not all women in the commonwealth have the means to access good, unbiased, maternal health care. According to the report, women insured by Medicaid and who live in areas with poverty rates over 25% are impacted the most,” she said, adding that the study lists Pike, Lehigh, Carbon, Philadelphia and Monroe as the top five counties with an increase in severe maternal morbidity in Pennsylvania.

Last June, the House Health Committee reported to the full House legislation that would ensure proper data collection on maternal morbidity as lawmakers work to reduce the growing and alarming number of maternal deaths in the state.

The bill (S.B. 262), which would add “severe maternal morbidity” to the list of reportable events within the Pennsylvania Department of Health, mirrors legislation authored by Cephas in the past two legislative sessions and is a key part of her efforts to reduce Black maternal mortality and improve Black maternal health in Pennsylvania.