The AAMC joined 115 national organizations in a Dec. 8 letter to congressional leadership, requesting that they pass the bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 4995) and the bipartisan Helping MOMS Act of 2020 (H.R. 4996) as soon as possible.
The letter — whose other signatories included the American Hospital Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and Trust for America’s Health — urged leaders to pass H.R. 4995 and H.R. 4996 before the end of the 116th Congress. Both bills previously passed the House of Representatives unanimously.
H.R. 4995 would authorize grants through the Health Resources and Services Administration to implement rural obstetric networks, maternal telehealth programs, and a rural maternal care training demonstration. It would also establish grants to develop best practices, train health care professionals about reducing and preventing discrimination in maternal care, implement state perinatal quality collaboratives, and deliver integrated health care services to pregnant and postpartum women and their infants. H.R. 4996 would allow states to provide one year of postpartum coverage under the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — an expansion from its current 60-day coverage — and require a Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) report on coverage of doula services under state Medicaid programs and the use of bundled payments to reimburse providers for pregnancy-related Medicaid services.
The letter reminds Congress that there is still an urgent need for federal action on maternal health as the United States is “the only industrialized nation where maternal deaths are on the rise,” and it thanks them for previous legislation that has helped the United States begin to better understand “how and why women are dying or experiencing severe morbidity during pregnancy and the postpartum period.” It urges Congress to build on these efforts as they would “move the United States from data to action in key areas.”