The AAMC on April 9 responded to a March inquiry to Stakeholders from the Senate Finance Committee leadership about solutions to improve maternal health. The inquiry acknowledged poor maternal health outcomes in the United States and requested “evidence-based solutions to address those factors and improve maternal health” that are within the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee.
The response from the AAMC highlighted the alarming rates of maternal mortality in the United States in comparison to other wealthy countries, as well as the racial and ethnic disparities that exist. The AAMC also noted legislative opportunities within the committee’s jurisdiction that could improve maternal health, specifically recommending that the committee:
- Support planning grants for communities to address social determinants of health by passing the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2019 (S. 2986).
- Expand access to health care for pregnant women and new mothers by expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers to one year postpartum from the current 90 days by passing the Maximizing Outcomes for Moms through Medicaid Improvement and Enhancement of Services (MOMMIES) Act (S. 1343).
- Increase the number of physicians able to treat pregnant and postpartum women by passing the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (S. 348).
- Improve the quality of clinical care for pregnant women and new mothers by urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to develop additional alternative payment models to improve maternal health and prevent maternal deaths.
The AAMC urged the committee to work closely with other committees of jurisdiction, highlighting the importance of “grant funding to allow institutions to develop resources and opportunities to reduce and prevent discrimination and implicit biases among health professionals, which many observers have noted contribute to additional stressors among minority women and worse health outcomes.” The response also emphasized the need for increased funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Title VII programs, which “play an essential role in improving the diversity of the health workforce and connecting students from underrepresented backgrounds to health careers by supporting recruitment, education, training, and mentorship opportunities.”