Engel Reintroduces the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act

Engel Reintroduces the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act

Washington D.C.—Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) and Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15) today reintroduced the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, a bipartisan bill that will allow us to better track Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s (CHIP) performances in caring for American mothers and infants.

Rates of maternal mortality have fallen worldwide in recent years but, shockingly, have risen in the United States. Given this trend, it is similarly alarming that the U.S. is not measuring and evaluating the performances of Medicaid and CHIP in caring for newborns and their moms – especially since Medicaid finances roughly half of all births in the U.S.

The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act aims to remedy this problem.

The bill would bring together diverse stakeholders to identify care quality benchmarks for women and children in Medicaid and CHIP, as well as fund new and existing maternity and infant care quality collaboratives. These collaboratives bring together local stakeholders, like doctors and nurse-midwives, to share best practices and improve care for patients.

The bill has been endorsed by March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the National Partnership for Women & Families, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Lamaze International, March for Moms and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

The bill was introduced with more than a dozen bipartisan original cosponsors: Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), John Garamendi (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Don Young (R-AK), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

“Medicaid and CHIP have been essential in caring for America’s moms and babies – especially in New York’s 16th District, where more than a quarter of children are covered by these programs,” Engel said. “As such, it just makes sense that we should carefully measure the quality of the care moms and infants are getting through these programs. I am pleased to once again co-lead the effort to take better care of America’s mothers and babies.”

“There are many things that make me proud of Ohio, but our infant and maternal mortality rates are not one of them,” Stivers said. “This bill is an important step towards ensuring mothers have safe deliveries and babies get a healthy start in life across the country.  I’m proud to work with Representative Engel to reintroduce the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act to codify high standards and clear metrics in infant and maternal care.”

“The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act will make a real difference in the lives of moms and babies by helping to ensure every pregnant woman and infant gets the highest quality care possible,” said March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart. “March of Dimes strongly supports this effort to increase the quality of perinatal health care, and we look forward to its swift enactment.”

“The goal of every obstetrician-gynecologist is a healthy outcome for both mother and baby. To that end, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is pleased to support the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act. Rates of maternal mortality and severe morbidity are rising in the United States and we know that half of these maternal deaths can be prevented. The U.S. also has an unacceptably high rate of infant mortality with preterm birth being a significant contributor. That is why it is imperative that we invest in locally-relevant improvements to maternity care, like perinatal quality collaboratives. These collaboratives are an important tool to help make sure that evidence-based practice recommendations — from reducing early elective deliveries and cesareans, to treating women struggling with substance use disorder -- are implemented in a way that truly improves care for women. ACOG thanks Representatives Eliot Engel and Steve Stivers for their leadership on the issue of improving maternal health, and looks forward to working with both chambers of Congress to advance this bill into law," said ACOG President Haywood L. Brown, MD.

“The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act provides a critical opportunity to connect more women and babies in this country with the safe, effective, evidence-based health care they need to thrive,”said National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness. “By driving innovative improvements in maternity care delivery while maximizing the value of our health care dollars, this bill can help address our nation’s poor maternal and infant health outcomes and persistent disparities. We commend Rep. Engel and Rep. Stivers for reintroducing it in the House of Representatives today and continuing to push for its passage.”