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White House hosts inaugural maternal health day of action & unveils key agency initiatives

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    White House hosts inaugural maternal health day of action & unveils key agency initiatives

    On December 7, Vice President Kamala Harris convened the White House’s first-ever Maternal Health Day of Action. The event featured speeches and reports from lawmakers and cabinet secretaries such as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.

    The United States has the highest maternal mortality rates of any developed country, with a disproportionate impact on women of color. Vice President Harris made it clear that tackling the maternal health crisis was a key priority for the White House stating, “In the United States of America, in the 21st century, being pregnant and giving birth should not carry such great risk.”

    The White House announced several key steps the administration is taking to improve maternal health conditions in the United States:

    • The Build Back Better Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would invest $3 billion towards maternal health. The bill would require all states to extend Medicaid coverage of postpartum healthcare to 12 months after birth.

    • The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released a report that demonstrates the life-saving benefits of state expansions of Medicaid postpartum coverage. According to the analysis, if every state took this step, it would expand coverage for 720,000 more Americans every year.

    • The Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance to encourage state governments to voluntarily expand postpartum coverage in Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months.

    • CMS is proposing to create a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation to better inform consumers which institutions have adopted best practices in maternity care. The designation will be awarded to hospitals that participate in a program to improve maternal health outcomes.

    Counties across America are working towards improving maternal health outcomes given our integral role in the management of hospitals and administration of health services. For example:

    • The Sacramento County Public Health Department broadly offers Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Programs to residents, expanding access to quality health services for all women of childbearing age, adolescents, children and infants. The county has gone beyond looking at just maternal mortality and have focused their efforts on specifically addressing child deaths of African Americans through their local Black Child Legacy Campaign.

    • Flagler County and Volusia County in Florida have developed regional partnerships focused on reducing maternal mortality. The two Florida counties created The Healthy Start Coalition aiming to provide local support and resources for expecting mothers, infants, toddlers and their families. 

    As key stakeholders and practitioners, counties will continue to lead the charge against maternal mortality through increased access to care and services. NACo will continue to promote the advancement of innovative approaches in this space that emphasize partnership at the federal, state and local level.

    On December 7, Vice President Kamala Harris convened the White House’s first-ever
    2021-12-20
    Blog
    2021-12-21
Vice President Kamala Harris convened the White House’s first-ever Maternal Health Day of Action The White House announced several key steps the administration is taking to improve maternal health conditions in the U.S. linked to the expansion of Medicaid coverage

On December 7, Vice President Kamala Harris convened the White House’s first-ever Maternal Health Day of Action. The event featured speeches and reports from lawmakers and cabinet secretaries such as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rates of any developed country, with a disproportionate impact on women of color. Vice President Harris made it clear that tackling the maternal health crisis was a key priority for the White House stating, “In the United States of America, in the 21st century, being pregnant and giving birth should not carry such great risk.”

The White House announced several key steps the administration is taking to improve maternal health conditions in the United States:

  • The Build Back Better Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would invest $3 billion towards maternal health. The bill would require all states to extend Medicaid coverage of postpartum healthcare to 12 months after birth.

  • The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation released a report that demonstrates the life-saving benefits of state expansions of Medicaid postpartum coverage. According to the analysis, if every state took this step, it would expand coverage for 720,000 more Americans every year.

  • The Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance to encourage state governments to voluntarily expand postpartum coverage in Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months.

  • CMS is proposing to create a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation to better inform consumers which institutions have adopted best practices in maternity care. The designation will be awarded to hospitals that participate in a program to improve maternal health outcomes.

Counties across America are working towards improving maternal health outcomes given our integral role in the management of hospitals and administration of health services. For example:

  • The Sacramento County Public Health Department broadly offers Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Programs to residents, expanding access to quality health services for all women of childbearing age, adolescents, children and infants. The county has gone beyond looking at just maternal mortality and have focused their efforts on specifically addressing child deaths of African Americans through their local Black Child Legacy Campaign.

  • Flagler County and Volusia County in Florida have developed regional partnerships focused on reducing maternal mortality. The two Florida counties created The Healthy Start Coalition aiming to provide local support and resources for expecting mothers, infants, toddlers and their families. 

As key stakeholders and practitioners, counties will continue to lead the charge against maternal mortality through increased access to care and services. NACo will continue to promote the advancement of innovative approaches in this space that emphasize partnership at the federal, state and local level.

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