Stabenow, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Fund New Community Partnerships to Address High Rate of Maternal and Infant Mortality

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced the bipartisan Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, which would provide funding for new community partnerships to address the high rate of maternal and infant mortality. The United States has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world and one of the highest rates of infant mortality.

“The high rate of maternal and infant mortality in this country is completely unacceptable; we must do better,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our bill will help doctors, hospitals, and states save the lives of both moms and babies.” 

“Many states have taken the lead to promote maternal and infant health by sharing best practices and developing comprehensive health care plans for mothers and their children.  The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act would build on this success by authorizing funding to support existing collaboratives and encouraging new ones.  It would also support new quality measures in the CHIP and Medicaid programs to monitor progress more accurately,” said Senator Collins.  “I urge our colleagues to join us in supporting this bipartisan bill to ensure mothers and infants receive quality health care.”

The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act would improve maternity care for women and newborns by providing funding for regional care quality partnerships. These partnerships 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. The legislation would also set higher care standards in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Medicaid currently lacks adequate maternal and infant health measures that providers need to improve outcomes.

“March of Dimes commends Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) for their leadership in introducing the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act of 2019,” said March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “We appreciate the additional focus this bill brings to improve the value and quality of maternity care in the U.S. by developing perinatal quality measures and supporting maternity care quality cooperatives. These efforts will reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates, decrease hospital readmission rates, and improve the appropriate use of cesarean section, resulting in better health outcomes at reduced costs.”

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is proud to endorse the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, which supports perinatal quality collaboratives as they undertake initiatives to decrease the rate of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in this country,” said ACOG President Ted Anderson, M.D. Ph.D. “As the leading organization of physicians dedicated to advancing women's health, ACOG recognizes perinatal quality collaboratives as key partners in the effort to eliminate preventable maternal deaths. They accelerate adoption of best practices and are key to advancing recommendations from state maternal mortality review committees and implementing maternal safety best practices, such as those developed by the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health. ACOG is pleased to see this important legislation introduced in the Senate and commends Senators Debbie Stabenow and Susan Collins for their leadership and commitment to ensuring what has always been the goal of every obstetrician-gynecologist—healthy moms and babies.”

“Maternal mortality is an ongoing crisis in this country, with Black and Native American women three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy related complications,” said Debra L. Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “However, many of the adverse maternal health outcomes that women experience can be addressed by improving the quality of care that moms and babies receive. The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act would support the development of quality measures that drive increased safety, and make changes in the care delivery system to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. The National Partnership applauds Senators Stabenow and Collins for introducing this important legislation, and urges the Senate to quickly pass this critical bill.”