Maternal Health, Particularly Racial Mortality Disparities, Garner Increased Focus from the Shapiro Administration

Credits: Wolters Kluwer

The Shapiro Administration has reinforced its commitment to addressing racial disparities in maternal health outcomes in Pennsylvania.

Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen, along with Second Lady Blayre Holmes Davis, visited a Pittsburgh-area midwife center to emphasize the maternal health crisis and advocate for improved care, particularly for people of color.

The state has witnessed an alarming increase in severe conditions during pregnancy and delivery among pregnant Black and poor women. Findings from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council reveal a spike in severe diseases among expectant mothers hospitalized between 2016 and 2022.

Maternal Healthcare (Credits: Penn Live)

Maternal mortality rates have been a concern nationwide, with Pennsylvania experiencing 82 pregnancy-associated deaths per 100,000 live births. Black women are twice as likely to die during or within the first year after pregnancy compared to white women.

Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed budget for 2024-25 includes additional funding of $2.7 million to address and prevent maternal mortality, particularly among Black mothers. The budget aims to support programs addressing Black maternal health and eliminate disparities in outcomes.

Maternal Healthcare (Credits: Network for Public Health Law)

The administration is also prioritizing the establishment of a Division of Maternal Health within the Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health, allocating approximately $1.7 million for recommendations from the Maternal Mortality Review Committee. This initiative focuses on preventing maternal deaths and enhancing overall maternal health outcomes.

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