Kean/Vitale Bill to Help NJ Moms, Address Maternal & Infant Mortality Rates Advances 

Kean/Vitale Bill to Help NJ Moms, Address Maternal & Infant Mortality Rates Advances

Bill Would Improve Statewide Medicaid Data Analysis Practices

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senate Health Committee Chair Joe Vitale to improve the health, well-being and safety of New Jersey’s expectant mothers and newborns on Medicaid has passed the Senate Health Committee.

New Jersey’s maternal and infant mortality rates are some of the highest in the country, especially for African Americans. S-3046 would address this crisis by improving certain Medicaid data analysis and healthcare practices.

“Mothers and their newborn babies are dying at shocking rates in New Jersey, and across the country,” Senator Kean (R-21) noted. “Evaluating the medical data of pregnant Medicaid patients Statewide can help us better understand risk factors and break down barriers to care. This legislation, along with the rest of our bipartisan maternal healthcare package, will help close the racial disparity gap, build stronger families, and save lives.”

“The first step to helping mothers is to know what they need,” Senator Vitale said. “By standardizing the process, collecting the data and partnering with the right organizations we can match mothers with the services and care they need, when they need it. This can make a difference in the lives of thousands of mothers and children across the state.”

Kean and Vitale’s bill, S-3046, systematizes the requirements for completing the Perinatal Risk Assessment form by Medicaid providers. S-3406 also requires the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services to analyze the Perinatal Risk Assessment data gathered to find and highlight common risk factors of Medicaid recipients during pregnancy.

Currently, the Perinatal Risk Assessment form is intended to identify prenatal risk factors. It also is used to refer eligible families to evidence-based home visiting programs.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2011 to 2014 there were 12 deaths per 100,000 live births for white women. In comparison, there were 40 deaths per 100,000 births for African American women. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that African American pregnant and new mothers die at around the same rate as women in Uzbekistan.

“Mothers and babies in New Jersey are suffering and dying, often from complications that are preventable,” Kean added. “This state must improve care for all mothers, regardless of their race or socioeconomic means. We need to do more to ensure the next generation of New Jersey leaders get a strong and healthy start, and that their families are well-cared for, too.”

Kean and Vitale’s S-3406, as well as the trio of bills sponsored by Senator Singer, passed the Senate Health Committee today. This is part of a comprehensive bipartisan bill package sponsored by Senator Tom Kean, Senator Joe Vitale, Senator Bob Singer, and Senator Ron Rice to improve maternal, prenatal, and newborn healthcare Statewide. Some of the bills will be posted at a future hearing, while others were advanced by the Senate Health committee today.

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