Legislation aimed at reducing deaths of women from pregnancy and childbirth will advance to the president's desk for his signature after passing the Senate on Thursday.
The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which already passed the House earlier this week, would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants available to states to better track and examine the problem of maternal deaths. They would be expected to do that by establishing maternal mortality review committees and ensuring state health departments have plans to educate healthcare providers about their findings.
The legislation defines "pregnancy-associated death" as the death of a woman while pregnant or during the one-year period following the date of the end of pregnancy and defines "pregnancy-related death" as the death of a woman while pregnant or during the one-year period following the date of the end of pregnancy from any cause related to, or aggravated by, the pregnancy or its management.
States would be required to develop mandatory reporting of maternal deaths by clinicians and allow voluntary reporting of such deaths by family members. States would also need to investigate each case to be reviewed.
HHS would be directed to take specific steps to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes.