Maternity Care Bills Advance

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Health Committee Approves Bills Sponsored by Pou, Cryan, Cruz-Perez, Greenstein, Ruiz, Vitale & Rice

Trenton – Today the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee approved several bills concerning the quality of maternal health care in the state.

The bills, sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou, Senator Joseph Cryan, Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Senator Linda Greenstein, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Senator Joseph Vitale and Senator Ronald Rice, are part of a larger maternal care package currently moving through the legislature.

The bills come in response to New Jersey’s maternal mortality rate being one of the highest in the nation.

“It’s clear New Jersey can make maternity care a lot better,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The mortality statistics are striking and with 42% of New Jersey births being paid for by Medicaid, we have a lot of influence over how to improve both the efficiency of services as well as the ability to boost incentives for the best care possible. I am proud the legislature is making the care for New Jersey mothers a major priority in 2019.”

“Depression is common for women during pregnancy and after giving birth, but it often goes undiagnosed and untreated,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “By securing federal funding to address maternal mental health we can make real progress to improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and new mothers in the state.”

“Equipping new parents and parents-to-be with vital information on the resources available to them, during and after their pregnancy, and the rights they are entitled to as a parent is crucial in our effort to curb the maternal mortality epidemic we are facing,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “An informed public and a greater emphasis on interconception care would result in more mothers taking precautionary measures, during and after pregnancy”

“Many new parents and soon-to-be parents are not aware of where they can turn to for support,” said Senator Greenstein (Mercer/Middlesex). “Generating awareness of resources and expanding the guidance and counseling provided to parents is needed to remedy the epidemic we are currently facing in the state.”

“It is crucial that we empower women with the resources they need to make informed decisions about their reproductive health,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “When women know their options and plan ahead they are able to align their reproductive care with their personal beliefs and long term goals.”

“We need to improve our maternity care in New Jersey,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “By requiring Medicaid coverage for group prenatal care we can expand the services provided to soon to be mothers in our state. And taking better care of mothers, means taking better care of New Jersey.”

“Doulas advocate extensively on behalf of pregnant women. In maternity health care, they do thankless jobs and go unrecognized for their work. I believe we should dedicate Doula Appreciation Day and Week during the month of March, Women’s History Month, for the services they provide for women,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex).

  • 3364 – Sponsored by Senator Pou and Senator Cryan, the bill would require the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Human Services to identify and take steps to secure available federal funding to support maternal mental health. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3365 – Sponsored by Senator Pou and Senator Cryan, the bill would establish a perinatal episode of care pilot program in Medicaid. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3370 – Sponsored by Senator Cruz-Perez and Senator Greenstein, the bill would require the Commissioner of Health to establish a maternity care public awareness campaign. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3371 – Sponsored by Senator Cruz-Perez and Senator Greenstein, the bill would direct the DOH to develop standardized perinatal health curriculum for community healthcare workers. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3372 – Sponsored by Senator Cruz-Perez and Senator Greenstein, the bill would require the DOH to develop interconception care resources to enhance postpartum care for women. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3375 – Sponsored by Senator Ruiz, the bill would establish a maternal health care pilot program to evaluate shared decision-making tools developed by the DOH and used by birthing centers and hospitals providing maternity services. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3376 – Sponsored by Senator Ruiz, the bill would require the DOH to establish the “My Life, My Plan” program to support women of childbearing age in developing reproductive life plans. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 3378 – Sponsored by Senator Ruiz, the bill would prohibit Medicaid, State Health Benefits and School Employee Health Benefits from covering certain non-medically indicated early elective deliveries. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 7-0.
  • 3405 – Sponsored by Senator Vitale and Senator Kean, the bill would require Medicaid coverage for group prenatal care services under certain circumstances. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 119 – Sponsored by Senator Rice and Senator Vitale, the resolution would designate March 22 of each year as “Doula Appreciation Day” in New Jersey. The resolution was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 120 – Sponsored by Senator Rice and Senator Kean, the resolution would designate March 22 to March 28 of each year as “Doula Appreciation Week” in New Jersey. The resolution was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.
  • 121 – Sponsored by Senator Ruiz, the resolution would encourage the DOH to develop a set of standards for respectful care at birth and to conduct a public outreach initiative to promote these standards to women and integrate the standards into routine clinical care and community engagement. The resolution was released from committee by a vote of 8-0.