Grassley’s new proposal aims to improve maternal and child health services

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the Healthy Moms and Babies Act to improve maternal and child health care. The United States is experiencing a maternal health crisis that particularly affects women of color and those who live in rural America. The Healthy Moms and Babies Act builds on Grassley’s long-standing efforts to improve maternal and infant health by providing coordinated, high-quality care, supporting women and babies with 21st century technology, and taking other steps to reduce the maternal mortality.

“We need to do a better job of supporting pregnant moms and their babies,” said Grassley. “The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will enable coordinated, high-quality care for our most vulnerable mothers. Through 21st century technology and community efforts, we can prevent maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies, regardless of the mother’s zip code or economic background. As a strong supporter of the Mothers, Infants and Early Years home visiting program and stillbirth prevention efforts, I will continue to work with my colleagues to help pregnant families.

“Rural America is one of the most challenging environments to provide prenatal and obstetric care because people are so isolated. We are grateful to Senator Grassley for introducing a bill that will help address these challenges. Avera has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to serving women with the goal of having healthy mothers, healthy babies and healthy families. An example is our use of telehealth to monitor gestational diabetes in rural areas. We fully recognize that mothers need access to high quality prenatal care and careful management of conditions such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, regardless of their zip code. Telehealth and coordinated holistic care are important tools as we strive to help mothers who cannot always afford to travel or take time off work for regular checkups,” said Kimberlee McKay, MD, clinical vice president of Avera’s OB-GYN service line. Avera, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a healthcare system that spans a mostly rural footprint over 72,000 square miles in the Upper Midwest, with hospitals and clinics throughout Northwestern USA. Iowa.

“The
Healthy Moms and Babies Act will make great strides to expand access to telehealth for pregnant and postpartum women across the country. The maternal mortality rate is a concerning issue in this country, and the R Street Institute supports Senator Grassley’s innovative effort using telehealth to address it,” said Anthony Lamorena, senior director of federal affairs at the R Street Institute.

Background on Healthy Moms and Babies Act

The Healthy Moms and Babies Act improve maternal and child health care by:

  • Coordinate and provide “integral” care, support outcome-focused, community-based prevention and support efforts, including stillbirth prevention activities and expansion of the maternal health workforce;
  • Modernizing maternal health care through telehealth to support women of color and women living in rural America; and
  • Reduce maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies and improve our understanding of the social determinants of health in pregnant and postpartum women.

Additional information about Grassley’s Healthy Mothers and Babies Act is available below:

Grassley’s ongoing work to improve maternal and child health

Grassley has already led legislation to reauthorize the bipartisan Mothers, Infants and Early Years Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and is working to secure another timely reauthorization this year.
In 2019, Iowa received a five-year sentence HRSA grant strengthen partnerships and collaboration. This has resulted in the establishment of a Maternal Health Task Force, improved monitoring of state-level data on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, and the promotion and implementation of innovation in the delivery of maternal health services. Work in Iowa and other states will help inform best practices. The Healthy Moms and Babies Act would build on the successes of this HRSA grant and other Iowa efforts.

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