Bill That Establishes Maternal Mortality Review Boards Passes the New York State Senate Unanimously

Sponsored by State Senator Gustavo Rivera, the Maternal Mortality Review Boards will create new strategies to combat the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in New York, which disproportionately affect minority women, primarily black women

Ranked 30th out of 50 states, the creation of the boards will help New York obtain a deeper understanding of the causes and circumstances associated to the high rate of maternal mortality and morbidity

Senator Rivera also introduced a new bill that will direct hospitals to adopt standard obstetric hemorrhage protocols to help lower New York's maternal mortality rate

(Albany, NY) - Today, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, passed bill S.1819 in the New York State Senate unanimously.  This critical bill will establish the New York State and New York City Maternal Mortality Review Boards and a Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Advisory Council to review the alarming maternal deaths and maternal morbidity rates affecting women across New York. The bill also passed the New York State Assembly unanimously. 
The Maternal Mortality Review Boards, both of which would be comprised of a diverse group of clinical experts, are designed to work collaboratively to facilitate a comprehensive and confidential review of maternal deaths, disseminate their findings, and develop strategies for reducing maternal deaths. The advisory council is tasked with reviewing the boards' findings and developing an exhaustive list of recommendations and best practices that will help prevent future maternal deaths and decrease the rate of life-threatening complications faced by New York women while giving birth or after.

Currently, New York ranks 30th out of 50 states in its maternal death rate. The rate of maternal deaths in New York rose from 13.2 per 100,000 live births in 2006 to 25 per 100,000 in 2015. Furthermore, this public health issue has a clear racial and ethnic disparities component. Compared to white women, black women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth. 

"It is a terrible reality that in this day and age, mothers in New York State, particularly black mothers, are dying and developing life-threatening complications after birth at an alarming rate," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee and sponsor of the bill. "The establishment of the maternal mortality review boards and advisory council will help ensure we are developing and implementing strategies to not only reduce this troubling trend throughout New York, but to address the healthcare disparities causing higher rate of deaths and complications among women of color."

In his effort to immediately reduce New York's maternal mortality rate, Senator Rivera recently introduced a new bill (S.4498) to address obstetric hemorrhages, which are highly preventable. The legislation would require hospitals to adopt and implement standard protocols to appropriately identify and manage obstetric hemorrhage during childbirth using best practices and submit them to the Department of Health. The Department would be required to develop protocols or identify existing protocols that hospitals could use and to report to the legislature on data collected from the hospitals. 

With hemorrhages accounting for approximately 16 percent of maternal deaths in New York State, this legislation along with the creation of the Maternal Mortality Review Boards, will ensure New York is aggressively working to ensure women do not have to worry about making it out of the delivery room.