Congress Passes Maternity Care Legislation
Last night, the Senate passed H.R. 315, the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, sending the bill to the President's desk to be signed. Geographic maldistribution of health care providers has resulted in a shortage of maternity care providers in rural America. The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act will improve the geographic distribution of maternity care providers by creating maternity health professional target areas.
This bill sponsored by Reps Burgess (R-TX-26), Eshoo (D-CA-18) and Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40) passed the House in January of 2017. A Senate companion bill was sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
"In Wisconsin, we have a number of rural counties that have no access to any obstetrician or gynecologist," Senator Baldwin told POLITICO's Alice Miranda Ollstein. "I heard from a constituent who ended up driving 90 minutes in labor to get to a physician who could deliver her baby. That shouldn't be."
In May, NRHA joined with the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Every Mother Counts (EMC) to host a lunch briefing on this legislation and to raise awareness about the challenges in rural maternity care.
While the passage of the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act is a victory for rural mothers and families, there is still more work to do. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners here in Washington and across the country to ensure that every expecting mother has access to the care she needs.