Senator Stabenow Introduces the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act of 2018, S. 2637, which will improve maternity care for women and newborns. The United States has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world and one of the highest rates of infant mortality. Michigan has the 17th highest rate of infant mortality in the country, with 6.68 infant deaths per 1,000 births.


“We all have a stake in keeping moms and babies healthy,” said Senator Stabenow. “My bill makes sure moms and babies get the best care possible from the doctor’s office to the delivery room.”


“The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act will make a real difference in the lives of moms and babies by helping to ensure every pregnant woman and infant gets the highest quality care possible,” stated March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart. “March of Dimes strongly supports this effort to increase the quality of perinatal health care, and we look forward to its swift enactment.”


“Not enough women and infants in the United States are getting the high-quality health care they need and deserve. The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act would help give more maternity care providers the necessary tools to deliver the best possible care while maximizing the value of our health care dollars,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “We applaud Senator Stabenow for reintroducing this bill in the Senate and for her unwavering commitment to improving the health of women and families, and we urge the Senate to prioritize its passage this year.”


“The goal of every obstetrician-gynecologist is a healthy outcome for both mother and baby. To that end, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is pleased to support the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act,” said ACOG President Haywood L. Brown, MD. “Rates of maternal mortality and severe morbidity are rising in the United States and we know that half of these maternal deaths can be prevented. The U.S. also has an unacceptably high rate of infant mortality with preterm birth being a significant contributor. That is why it is imperative that we invest in locally-relevant improvements to maternity care, like perinatal quality collaboratives. These collaboratives are an important tool to help make sure that evidence-based practice recommendations — from reducing early elective deliveries and cesareans, to treating women struggling with substance use disorder -- are implemented in a way that truly improves care for women. ACOG thanks Senator Stabenow for her leadership on the issue of improving maternal health, and looks forward to working with both chambers of Congress to advance this bill into law.”


The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act of 2018 will improve maternity care for women and newborns by holding Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program accountable through higher quality standards. Medicaid currently has a set of guidelines for pediatric and adult care but no specific standards for maternity and infant care.


The legislation will also provide funding for care quality partnerships that will bring together states, health care providers, insurance companies, and other stakeholders to develop and carry out new strategies to improve maternity and infant care.


U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joined Stabenow to introduce the legislation.