Portman and Stabenow Propose Idea to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes

By Staff

October 30, 2020

Senators Rob Portman and Debbie Stabenow introduced the Harnessing Effective and Appropriate Long Term Health for Moms on Medicaid Act. The legislation aims to improve maternal health outcomes among high-risk pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid by providing a state option for providers to enroll in a “pregnancy medical home.”

Motivating the legislation

Pregnancy medical centers have a track record of improving access to services for pregnant women during pregnancy and reducing adverse outcomes such as hospitalization for pregnant women and neonatal complications. The Wellness for MOM Act will encourage better continuity of treatment for a pregnant mother between her care staff and the support services available to her. This can be done by helping to standardize the means for Medicaid to pay for and maintain those models.

The main pillars of the legislation are:

  • coordinates access to necessary maternity care services and programs through the development of a comprehensive, patient-centered care plan

  • provides for the prevention and treatment of mental health or substance use among high-risk pregnant women

What lawmakers are saying

Every year, nearly 700 women die in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications with a majority of those deaths disproportionately affecting women of color. This is unacceptable. My legislation will work to address this devastating issue by providing high-risk, expectant mothers with the option to enroll in a pregnancy medical home where they can be taken care of by a team of health care professionals. -- Senator Portman

Quality health care during pregnancy is critical to both moms and babies, and directly impacts the future well-being of children. It is unconscionable that the United States has some of the most cutting-edge and innovative health care in the world, yet so many mothers, particularly women of color, die or suffer serious complications during childbirth. Our bill will help close this gap in care and services. -- Senator Stabenow