Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the Assembly passed legislation that would establish the Maternal Mortality Review Board to closely examine maternal mortality in New York and develop strategies to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and new mothers.
"The Assembly Majority recognizes the seriousness of the disparities that exist in health outcomes for pregnant women in New York," said Speaker Heastie. "By developing review boards and an advisory council, we can identify the root causes of this issue and develop meaningful strategies to achieve better and more equitable outcomes for all women."
"New York's maternal mortality rates are far higher than they should be, with glaring racial, ethnic and economic disparities that must be addressed," said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. "Creation of a maternal mortality review board is an important step for health care providers, public health experts and policymakers to address this critical issue."
"Every woman deserves the best possible care for themselves and their newborn, and it is time for New York to address the high maternal mortality rate that has existed in our state for far too long," Assemblymember Latoya Joyner said. "This legislation is a critical step toward doing just that."
Today's legislation (A.3276, Joyner) would establish the Maternal Mortality Review Board, which would be tasked with assessing the cause of death, factors leading to death and preventability in cases of maternal death. The findings would be used to develop strategies for reducing the risk of maternal mortality.
The board would include health care professionals and other experts who serve and are representative of the diversity of women and mothers in medically underserved areas of the state with disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality or morbidity. The board would meet at least twice a year, but would meet more frequently if necessary.
The legislation would also establish an advisory council that may review the findings of the board and develop recommendations on policies, best practices and strategies to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity. The council would also hold public hearings, make findings and issue reports, including an annual report. The council would be comprised of multidisciplinary experts and people knowledgeable in the field of maternal mortality, women's health and public health.
New York currently ranks 30th out of 50 states in its maternal death rate. The issue is compounded by significant racial and ethnic disparities, with black women nearly four times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth compared to their white counterparts.
Developing a maternal mortality review board will provide a deeper understanding of the causes and circumstances surrounding each maternal death. By convening a multidisciplinary, diverse group of clinical experts, the Maternal Mortality Review Board will allow a comprehensive, confidential review of maternal deaths and help develop strategies to reduce maternal mortality.