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Report, Hospital Designation Coincide with Maternal Health Call to Action

As part of Vice President Kamala Harris’ call to action to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) along with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are taking steps to improve maternal health care.

HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a report highlighting the significant impact of extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months after birth. According to the report, if every state adopted a postpartum expansion, the number of Americans getting coverage for a full year postpartum would roughly double, extending coverage for an estimated 720,000 individuals in a given year.

“Birthing-Friendly” Hospital Designation

In addition, CMS intends to propose a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation through a measure to identify hospitals that provide perinatal care, practice in a maternity care quality improvement collaborative, and have implemented patient safety practices. The designation will be posted on CMS’ Care Compare website to help individuals identify hospitals with evidence-based initiatives in the postpartum space.

Letter to State Health Officials

Meanwhile, CMS on Dec. 7 sent a state health official letter explaining the state plan option to provide 12 months of postpartum coverage, created through the American Rescue Plan Act. The letter also addresses CMS’ Maternity Core Set, Maternal and Infant Health Initiative, and Section 1115 demonstrations.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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