New Grassley Proposal Seeks to Improve Maternal and Child Health Services
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has introduced the Healthy Moms and Babies Act to improve maternal and child health care. The United States has a maternal health crisis that particularly affects women of color and those living in rural America. The Healthy Moms and Babies Act builds on Grassley’s longstanding efforts to improve maternal and child health by delivering high-quality coordinated care, supporting women and babies with 21st century technology and taking other steps to reduce maternal mortality.
“We must do a better job at supporting pregnant moms and their babies,” Grassley said. “The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will enable high-quality coordinated care to our most vulnerable moms. Through 21st century technology and community-based efforts, we can prevent maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies – regardless of a mom’s zip code or economic background. As a strong supporter of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and stillbirth prevention efforts, I’ll continue working with my colleagues to help expectant families.”
“Rural America is one of the most challenging environments for providing prenatal and OB care because people are so isolated. We’re grateful to Senator Grassley for introducing a bill that will help address these challenges. Avera has shown a long-standing commitment to serving women with a goal of healthy moms, healthy babies and healthy families. Just one example is our use of telehealth to monitor gestational diabetes in rural locations. We fully recognize that moms 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 moms 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 health system that covers a mostly rural footprint across 72,000 square miles in the Upper Midwest, with hospitals and clinics throughout northwest Iowa.
“The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will make great strides to expand telehealth access for expecting and postpartum women all 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 utilizing telehealth to address it,” said Anthony Lamorena, Senior Federal Affairs Manager at R Street Institute.
Background on Healthy Moms and Babies Act
The Healthy Moms and Babies Act will improve maternal and child health care by:
- Coordinating and providing “whole-person” care, supporting outcome-focused and community-based prevention and support efforts, including stillbirth prevention activities and expanding the maternal health workforce;
- Modernizing maternal health care through telehealth to support women of color and women living in rural America; and
- Reducing maternal mortality and high-risk pregnancies and improving our understanding of social determinants of health in pregnant and postpartum women.
Additional information on Grassley’s Healthy Moms and Babies Act is available below: