Young Calls for Increased Focus on Reducing Maternal Mortality in the U.S.
Yesterday, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), led a bipartisan group of senators in calling for an increased focus on reducing maternal mortality in the United States and improving health outcomes for all mothers and children. Indiana has the nation’s third highest maternal mortality rate. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, 14 Democratic and Republican senators requested that the Department and Agency prioritize developing strategies to reduce maternal mortality rates, including for pregnant women and mothers enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). From 2000 to 2014, the rate of maternal mortality, defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or during the one-year period following the date of the end of pregnancy, increased by 26 percent in the United States. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 30 of 31 in maternal mortality among developed nations. Research shows that roughly 60 percent of maternal deaths in the United States could have prevented with improved patient care and education, standardized protocols and timely intervention. The senators highlighted the racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and infant health in the United States. For instance, African-American women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as compared to other women in the United States. American Indian and Alaskan Native women also fare worse than white women with approximately twice as many pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births.
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