Senator Marshall Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes

Legislation would authorize evidence-based programs to support pregnant and post-partum women and infants

(Washington, D.C., May 25, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. joined Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) in introducing bipartisan legislation to improve maternal and infant health. The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would authorize new federal grant programs aimed at reducing maternal mortality by establishing evidence-based practices for training and improving coordinated care, as well as reducing racial and ethnic disparities in delivery of care.

“Throughout my career as an OB/GYN, I am proud to have delivered thousands of babies into the arms of healthy mothers, but at times, there are circumstances beyond our control that are not fully understood,” Dr. Marshall said. “Last Congress, our legislation to improve data collection and analysis to gain a better understanding of these circumstances was signed into law. To build on that progress, our bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act takes a step forward in utilizing this data to develop evidence-based practices and training that will improve the quality of care for all expecting mothers.”


In the U.S., mothers are dying at higher rates than other high-income countries – and the rate is rising. From 2000 to 2014, the U.S.’s maternal mortality ratio increased by 26.6%, from 18.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000, to 23.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014. Annually, there are an estimated 700 pregnancy related deaths that occur in the U.S., and 60% of these are considered preventable. Additionally, for every maternal death, 50-100 women experience severe maternal morbidity. Maternal mortality is also higher in racial and ethnic populations.

Health experts caution that the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the maternal mortality crisis. According to the CDC, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people, and may be more likely to require hospitalization, intensive care, and ventilation.

The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would:

  • Authorize a grant program for innovations in reducing maternal mortality including developing evidence based best practices and improving maternal mortality review committee data;
  • Authorize a grant program to reduce ethnic and racial disparities for health care providers;
  • Create a study on best practices for teaching within health professional training programs to reduce and prevent discrimination;
  • Expand the ability of the CDC to award grants for perinatal quality collaboratives; and
  • Authorize a grant program for developing integrated health care services for pregnant and postpartum women and infants, with grants and reporting of study outcomes.

The bill is endorsed by the following entities and organizations: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 1,000 Days; 2020 Mom; AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth &Families; American College of Nurse-Midwives; American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Hospital Association, American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA); American Nurses Association; American Psychiatric Association; American Public Health Association; America’s Essential Hospitals; Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation; Anthem, Inc.; APS Foundation of America, Inc; Association of American Medical Colleges; Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs; Association of Public Health Laboratories; Babyscripts; Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; Catholic Health Association of the United States; Every Mother Counts; First Focus Campaign for Children; Futures Without Violence; Glo Preemies; Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation; Johnson & Johnson; March of Dimes; March for Moms; Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance; Mom Congress; MomsRising; National Association of County and City Health Officials; National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health; National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network; National Medical Association; National WIC Association; Nurse-Family Partnership; PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association; The PPROM Foundation; Preeclampsia Foundation; PreemieWorld, LLC; Sepsis Alliance; Shades Of Blue Project; Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Society for Women’s Health Research; The Joint Commission; Black Women’s Health Imperative; and the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Read the bill text for the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act HERE.