Booker Applauds Biden-Harris Administration’s Plan to Address the Maternal Health Crisis
Blueprint contains several provisions championed by Booker in the Senate
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) applauded the Biden-Harris administration’s Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis, a framework to address and combat maternal mortality and morbidity that will help reduce the long-lasting disparities in maternal health and improve pregnancy outcomes. The blueprint outlines five broad goals that align closely with those in legislation proposed by Booker, including the MOMMIES Act and Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021:
- Goal 1: Increase access to and coverage of comprehensive high-quality maternal health services, including behavioral health services.
- Goal 2: Ensure those giving birth are heard and are decision makers in accountable systems of care.
- Goal 3: Advance data collection, standardization, harmonization, transparency, and research.
- Goal 4: Expand and diversify the perinatal workforce.
- Goal 5: Strengthen economic and social supports for people before, during, and after pregnancy.
“The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate compared to its peer nations and Black women and Black birthing people in the United States are three to four times more likely to die than white women and white birthing people due to pregnancy-related complications,” said Sen. Booker. “This national crisis demands a national response, which is why I am encouraged to see the Biden-Harris administration release this timely and important blueprint. Many of the objectives included in this framework run parallel to my work on this issue in the Senate and I look forward to working with the administration to ensure its success.”
Specifically, the Biden-Harris Administration includes the following provisions championed by Booker in the Senate:
- Encourages states to leverage the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 state plan option to provide 12 months postpartum Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage.
- Strengthens support and access to perinatal addiction services for individuals with substance use disorders by partnering with hospitals and community-based organizations to implement evidence-based interventions.
- Keeps incarcerated mothers and their infants together by developing resources for state, tribal, and local correctional facilities to create residential programs for pregnant and postpartum inmates, based on Bureau of Prisons programs.
- Establishes a national, confidential, 24-hour, toll-free hotline for pregnant and postpartum individuals facing mental health challenges to increase access to mental health care.
- Expands capacity to screen, assess, treat, and refer for maternal depression and related behavioral disorders by providing real-time psychiatric consultation, care coordination support, and training to frontline health care providers.
- Bolsters communities of color when analyzing factors contributing to pregnancy-related deaths by developing a roadmap to increase community participation in state maternal mortality review committees MMRCs and incorporating community participation in future funding opportunities when allowable.
- Empowers AI/AN pregnant and postpartum women and educate providers by expanding the Hear HER campaign to include culturally relevant materials to raise awareness of urgent maternal warning signs and improve communication between patients and providers.
- Supports care coordination by implementing Pregnancy Medical Home demonstration sites that emphasize quality and care coordination through a team-based approach to care with the goal of reducing adverse maternal health outcomes and maternal death.
- Reduces the stigma of postpartum depression and other behavioral health conditions through a media campaign to raise awareness about postpartum depression.
- Expands and diversifies the number of nurses and certified midwives in underserved areas by using a set-aside for the Nurse Corps to support maternal and women’s health registered nurses, Advanced Practice Nurses, and Certified Nurse Midwives.
- Increases the number of community health workers and health support workers in underserved areas via the Community Health Worker Training Program.
- Expands access to doulas, licensed midwives, and freestanding birth centers by releasing guidance for states regarding coverage options in Medicaid. Further expands access in other programs by launching a doula services and training program for incarcerated women, and encouraging FEHB carriers to improve reimbursement rates and expand coverage for certified nurse midwives, freestanding birth centers, and perinatal support services, including lactation consultants and doulas.
- Streamlines enrollment in benefit programs for housing, child care, financial assistance, and food by building better linkages between these programs so that pregnant and postpartum women can more easily obtain services that address their needs outside the doctor’s office.
- Identifies and addresses potential adverse effects on maternal health from climate change.