Mackenzie Legislation Aimed at Improving Maternal Health Outcomes Passes State House
12/11/2017
HARRISBURG – In an effort to ensure better health outcomes for expectant mothers, Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks) authored legislation approved by the House of Representatives today that would establish a Maternal Mortality Review Committee within the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“The idea for creating such a committee was brought to me by residents in my district who are members of the Pennsylvania Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG),” said Mackenzie. “Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) monitors maternal mortality on a national level, but there is no process for review in Pennsylvania. This legislation would ensure closer examination of the deaths of expectant mothers and then use that information to improve health care for current and future expectant mothers.”

Mackenzie noted that more women in the United States die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country. Despite advances in medicine and medical technologies, the U.S. saw a 26 percent increase in the maternal mortality rate from 18.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000, to 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014.

Causes of death included preventable conditions like preeclampsia and obstetric hemorrhage. Mental health conditions, including suicide and overdose, are also becoming the leading cause of maternal mortality in a growing number of states.

A Maternal Mortality Review Committee would better identify pregnancy-related deaths, oversee the review of these deaths, recommend actions to help prevent future deaths and publish review results. This information helps clinicians and public health professionals to better understand circumstances surrounding pregnancy-related deaths and to take appropriate actions to prevent them.

Currently, 32 states have maternal mortality review committees either in operation or in development.

According to a 2016 report from America’s Health Rankings, based on CDC National Vital Statistics System data, Pennsylvania ranks 21st in maternal mortality.

The state of California is an example of the success of implementing a maternal mortality review committee. The California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (CA-PAMR) identified cardiovascular disease, preeclampsia and obstetric hemorrhage as the leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths and published its findings in a statewide report and peer-reviewed journals. With data readily available about what was contributing to the risks of maternal mortality, Stanford University’s California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative put together a series of toolkits to help guide hospitals in limiting complications and responding to emergencies.

Since its inception, California’s maternal mortality rate declined more than 55 percent from 2006-2013, saving 9.6 lives per 100,000. In addition, 120,000 early births were prevented from 2009-2014, with an increase of 8 percent of births making it to full term.

“I am thankful the ACOG brought this idea to my attention, and I am hopeful we can have this legislation signed into law to benefit Pennsylvania women’s health in the near future,” said Mackenzie.

House Bill 1869 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Ryan Mackenzie
134th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman
717.772.9840
tlehman@pahousegop.com
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