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Margaret Wood Hassan

01/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2020 18:33

Senator Hassan Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Support Maternity Care in Rural Areas

January 13, 2020

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan has cosponsored bipartisan legislation, led by Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), aimed at helping to ensure that new and expecting moms living in rural communities get the care that they need. The legislation would take significant steps forward to improve health care outcomes for moms and their babies, including by expanding prenatal and postpartum telehealth services and creating new federal grants to address maternal mortality.

'No matter where they live, expectant moms deserve access to high-quality care to protect their health and the health of their babies,' said Senator Hassan. 'With rural communities across New Hampshire experiencing physician shortages and other challenges, this much-needed bipartisan legislation will help us take a big step forward in supporting moms and their families.'

The bipartisan Rural MOMS Act would:

  • Improve Rural Maternal and Obstetric Care Data by directing the CDC to coordinate efforts with respect to maternal mortality and morbidity, to report on women's health conditions according to sociocultural and geographic contexts, and to emphasize research on pregnancy-related deaths.
  • Award New Rural Obstetric Network Grants to establish regional innovation networks to improve maternal mortality and morbidity as well as birth outcomes.
  • Expand Existing Federal Telehealth Grant Programs to include birth and postpartum services as part of telehealth networks and to allow federal funding to be used for ultrasound machines, fetal monitoring equipment, and other pregnancy-related technology.
  • Establish a New Rural Maternal and Obstetric Care Training Demonstration to support training for family medicine physicians, obstetricians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, doulas, and other professionals to provide maternal care services in rural community-based settings.
  • Report on Maternal Care in Rural Areas to identify the locations of gaps in maternity care, disparities in maternal health in rural areas by race and ethnicity, recommendations to standardize data collection on maternal mortality and morbidity, and activities to improve maternal care in rural areas.

The Rural MOMS Act is endorsed by: Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs; Every Mother Counts; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; National Birth Equity Collaborative; March of Dimes; Nurse-Family Partnership; and the National Rural Health Association.

Senator Hassan has prioritized improving maternal and newborn health. In 2018, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Maggie Hassan to improve access to maternal care in rural and underserved areas by identifying areas lacking maternal health professionals and incentivizing providers to practice in these underserved communities. The President also signed into law legislation Senator Hassan cosponsored to help prevent maternal deaths. Senator Hassan also introduced bipartisan legislation to help save lives and improve the health of newborn babies, and the legislation passed the House last summer.

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