WASHINGTON — The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions recently advanced bipartisan legislation that U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan joined in introducing to improve maternal health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women.

The bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act aims to reduce maternal mortality rates and address health disparities that disproportionately impacts women who live in rural areas and women of color.

“Women in New Hampshire and across the country too often lack the high-quality care that they need during and after pregnancy, which can lead to preventable complications or even death for pregnant and postpartum women,” said Hassan, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I was glad to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance this important legislation that will save lives and help ensure that all pregnant women and new moms receive the care that they need to stay safe and healthy.”

The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would:

• Authorize a grant program for innovations in reducing maternal mortality including developing evidence-based best practices and improving maternal mortality review committee data.

• Authorize a grant program for racial and ethnic bias training for health-care providers.

• Create a study on best practices for teaching within health professional training programs to reduce and prevent discrimination.

• Expand the ability of the CDC to award grants for perinatal quality collaboratives.

• Authorize a grant program for developing integrated health-care services for pregnant and postpartum women and infants, with grants and reporting of study outcomes.

Along with the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, Hassan joined the committee in advancing bipartisan legislation to improve maternal health outcomes specifically in rural areas, improve the mental well-being of health-care providers, and expand workplace protections for new mothers to make sure that they have the time and space for nursing.

Hassan is working to improve maternal and newborn health care in New Hampshire and across the country.

In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Hassan to help reduce shortages in maternity care by identifying areas lacking maternal health professionals and incentivizing providers to practice in these underserved communities.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Hassan recently introduced two bipartisan bills to increase maternal vaccination rates and ensure that these vaccines are free of cost for Medicaid enrollees. Additionally,  Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Hassan introduced the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill to help save lives and improve the health of newborn babies by providing federal funding for comprehensive and standardized newborn screening tests for conditions such as critical congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis and hearing loss.

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