WASHINGTON D.C. — The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) is pleased to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus – composed of nine individual bills and introduced by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, Congresswoman Alma Adams, Senator Kamala Harris, and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus Members.
“Pregnancy is said to be a “window to future health,” rather than a time-limited experience, “ said Rachel M. Bond, MD, member of ABC’s Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in Women Committee and Medical Director, Women’s Heart Health, Dignity Health, East Valley. “This Momnibus provides an opportunity to make a significant impact on maternal health and outcomes for all women, but most especially those who now need it most.”
Data has shown the most alarming rates of maternal mortality for Black women in the United States with deaths two to three times the rate for White women, and more than twice that of women from other races. The majority of these deaths are preventable.
“Many disorders manifest first in pregnancy and can impact a woman’s health later in life,” Dr. Bond added. “Such disorders include CVD – now the leading cause of death in pregnant women and women in the postpartum period. By joining forces, cardiologists and obstetricians can be powerful voices for patients, counseling and educating them on how to achieve and maintain long-term heart health. ”
The ABC applauds Congresswomen Lauren Underwood and Alma Adams, and Senator Harris, and other congressional leaders for this legislative package that addresses gaps in existing legislation and comprehensively deals with every dimension of the Black maternal health crisis, including:
* Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
* Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve outcomes, particularly for Black women.
* Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing women veterans and invest in VA maternity care coordination.
* Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people she can trust.
* Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
* Focus on improving maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments.
* Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated women.
* Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve outcomes in underserved areas; and
* Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.
“Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and preeclampsia all impact cardiovascular health,” said Kecia Gaither, MD, a member of ABC’s Cardiovascular Disease in Women Committee and Director, Perinatal Services/Maternal Fetal Medicine, NYC Health+Hospitals/Lincoln in Bronx, NY. “Preventative care, addressing these co-morbidities in the preconceptual, as well as post partum period, can do much to obviate the cycle of adverse perinatal outcomes among women of color.”
Women at highest risk for maternal mortality and morbidity have unique needs for health services across their lifespan – from preconception counseling to postpartum management. However, challenges such as transportation, housing, and other SODHs, as well as access to a diverse and culturally competent maternal health care workforce make it difficult for these women to obtain needed services. Issues addressed by this Momnibus can help improve disparities in healthcare and ensure the health system does right by Black mothers through establishment of effective, evidence-based policies and best practices.
Founded in 1974, the ABC is a nonprofit organization with an international membership of more than 1,900 healthcare, lay professionals, corporate and institutional members. The ABC’s mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, in Blacks and other minorities and to achieve health equity for all through the elimination of disparities. For more information on the Association of Black Cardiologists, visit www.abcardio.org.