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Senators Stabenow and Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Maternity Care for Moms and Babies

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U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced the bipartisan Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act to improve maternity care for women and newborns, and reduce health care costs.

Senator Stabenow (D-MI), said: "We all have a stake in healthy moms and healthy babies. Maternity care is critical to the health of women across the country and helps children get a healthy start in life. This bill leverages the innovation of doctors, nurses, midwives and other maternity care providers to improve care, help save lives and reduce costs at the same time."

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), said: "With the federal government paying for 40 percent of births in the United States and the incredible expense and risk of complicated deliveries, improving maternity outcome quality makes sense for moms, babies and taxpayers."

James Breeden, MD, President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said: "We welcome this legislation, which creates a federal partnership with physicians and other health care providers to fill gaps in current quality measurement programs. It further empowers state and local initiatives to speed dissemination and adoption of maternity care best practices. Maternity care quality collaboratives break down silos between large and small hospitals, urban and rural providers, helping raise the bar on quality health care for the mothers and babies we serve."

Maureen Corry, MPH, Childbirth Connection Executive Director, said: "This critical legislation would provide targeted federal support for maternity care quality improvement. With more than 40% of the nation's births covered by Medicaid, it is imperative that the federal government and health care providers work together to foster safe, effective, evidence-based maternity care to all women and babies through the key strategies of performance measurement and maternity care quality collaboratives."

Nearly a quarter of all hospitalizations are related to childbearing women and newborns. The Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act will improve maternity care for women and newborns by holding Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program accountable through higher quality standards. Currently less than half of nationally endorsed quality measures are included in federal quality programs, and the legislation would ensure that a full range of services are being examined. The legislation will also support collaboration that promotes the best care and avoids medical complications to reduce costs. It would fund new collaboration projects and expand existing ones, like the Keystone Obstetrics Project in Michigan that has already been able to reduce unnecessary C-sections and unwarranted early inductions of labor.

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