May 10, 2021
BATH, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is cosponsoring the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Service (MOMS) Act – bipartisan legislation that would help ensure that new and expecting moms in rural communities get the care they need. More than half of rural counties nationwide lack hospitals with labor and birthing services, and the disparity in access to care and worse health outcomes creates challenges for mothers and children at their critical earliest days.
“No matter if families choose to live in Cumberland or Aroostook County, new and expecting mothers deserve the same level of quality healthcare,” said Senator King. “Maine is one of the most rural states in the nation, which poses unique challenges when it comes to healthcare access – which have only been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic. I’m proud to support the Rural MOMs Act to expand and improve services to better support the health of mothers in rural regions throughout their pregnancy.”
The Rural MOMS Act—initially cosponsored by Senator King in 2019–would:
· Improve rural maternal and obstetric care data by directing the CDC to coordinate efforts with respect to maternal mortality and morbidity, to report on women’s health conditions according to sociocultural and geographic contexts, and to emphasize research on pregnancy-related deaths;
· Award new rural obstetric network grants to establish regional innovation networks to improve maternal mortality and morbidity as well as birth outcomes;
· Expand existing federal telehealth grant programs to include birth and postpartum services as part of telehealth networks and to allow federal funding to be used for ultrasound machines, fetal monitoring equipment, and other pregnancy-related technology;
· Establish a new rural maternal and obstetric care training demonstration to support training for family medicine physicians, obstetricians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, doulas, and other professionals to provide maternal care services in rural community-based settings; and
· Report on maternal care in rural areas to identify the locations of gaps in maternity care, disparities in maternal health in rural areas by race and ethnicity, recommendations to standardize data collection on maternal mortality and morbidity, and activities to improve maternal care in rural areas.
This bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).
The Rural MOMS Act is endorsed by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), Every Mother Counts, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the National Birth Equity Collaborative, March of Dimes, the Nurse-Family Partnership, and the National Rural Health Association.