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Singer Bill Package to Improve Maternity Care Advances

A trio of bipartisan bills sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth) that aims to improve the health and well-being of mothers before, during, and after pregnancy (*unanimously*) passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. The bills’ passage comes in the wake of a state and national health emergency: African American mothers are dying both during and after childbirth at disproportionately higher rates than white mothers, with some of the most staggering rates occurring right here in New Jersey.

“New Jersey’s high maternal illness and death toll are disturbing, particularly for African American mothers,” Singer said. “We must take action to fix this deadly crisis. This requires a comprehensive approach of prioritizing maternal health during pregnancy, childbirth, and throughout the postpartum period. Enacting this legislation package will reduce preventable deaths and ensure more New Jersey mothers and babies leave the hospital happy and healthy.”

The first bill, S-3374, would expand postnatal coverage up to a year after birth for eligible women on Medicaid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of deaths of new mothers in the weeks and months following pregnancy are steadily increasing in the United States. Similar bipartisan legislation has been proposed in Texas.

Singer’s resolution SR-126, would urge the federal CDC to adopt a uniform data system to collect information on maternal mortality. The U.S. maternal mortality rate is ranked 50th in the world behind other developed counties.

The third bill advanced by the committee, S-3404, would require the State Department of Health to create a best practices manual for maternity care to be implemented in hospitals and ambulatory care facilities. The bill provides a $950,000 appropriation from the New Jersey General Fund. A similar program was enacted in California with overwhelming success.

Sen. Singer has been a longtime advocate of improving maternal care in the Garden State. In 2017 his resolution to create an annual “Maternal Health Awareness Day” in New Jersey was signed into law.

“In developed countries like the United States, pregnancy shouldn’t be a matter of life or death,” Singer added. “I will continue to fight for maternal health, and to secure quality care for all women and families. This is a great bipartisan effort to improve medical care throughout the state. I hope these bills will advance as soon as possible.”

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