In recognition of Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17, 2022), Secretary Xavier Becerra and leaders across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took actions to improve maternal health and reduce health disparities. The Biden-Harris Administration has championed policies to improve maternal health and equity since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris first took office.
This week, Vice President Harris convened a first-ever White House meeting with Cabinet Secretaries and agency leaders, including Secretary Becerra, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Carole Johnson, to discuss the Administration’s whole-of-government approach to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. In December 2021, Vice President Harris announced a historic Call to Action to improve health outcomes for parents and their young children in the United States.
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued response to that Call to Action, see highlights from HHS’ announcements and events this week below:
White House Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Additional Actions in Response to Vice President Harris’s Call to Action on Maternal Health
CMS released more details about the proposed “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation intended to drive improvements in maternal health outcomes. The new designation would assist consumers in choosing hospitals that have demonstrated a commitment to maternal health and the delivery of high-quality maternity care.
CMS announced that Michigan, following Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, and Illinois, can begin offering Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy to an estimated 16,000 pregnant and postpartum individuals through a new state plan opportunity made available by the American Rescue Plan. CMS is also working with another ten states and the District of Columbia to extend postpartum coverage for 12 months after pregnancy, including: California, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
HHS Awarded $16 Million to Strengthen the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
HHS, through HRSA, announced approximately $16 million to strengthen Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Programs. These awards will advance data and technology innovations to support positive maternal and child health outcomes in states and communities, address social and structural determinants of health, and help reduce disparities in health care access and health outcomes.
HHS Announced $9 Million Available to Expand State Maternal Health Innovation and Implementation Program
HHS, through HRSA, announced the availability of up to $9 million through the State Maternal Health Innovation and Data Capacity Program to expand the State Maternal Health Innovation and Implementation Program. The new funding will continue to build state capacity to deliver high-quality maternity care services, provide training for maternal care clinicians, and enhance the quality of state-level maternal health data through better collection, reporting and analysis.
Secretary Becerra Joined First-Ever Maternal Health Meeting with Cabinet Officials
Secretary Becerra, CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure, and HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson joined Vice President Kamala Harris’ first-ever White House meeting on maternal health with Cabinet Secretaries and agency leaders, to discuss the Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing maternal mortality and morbidity.
Secretary Becerra Hosted Discussion on Black Maternal Health with State Leaders
Secretary Becerra hosted a conversation with First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Snyder Murphy, New Jersey Assemblywomen Britnee N. Timberlake, First Spouse of Washington Trudi Inslee, and Birth Justice Organizer Jasmyn Bryant to discuss current challenges and opportunities for improvement in Black maternal health outcomes at both the state and federal level.
Honoring Black Maternal Health Week: A Discussion of Challenges and Opportunities to Improve Black Maternal Health
Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Loyce Pacehosted a roundtable, “Black Honoring Black Maternal Health Week: A Discussion of Challenges and Opportunities to Improve Black Maternal Health,” with Black celebrities and influencers: Hannah Bronfman, Activist, Author and Wellness Entrepreneur; Latham Thomas, MamaGlow Founder and CEO; Jazmyn Simon, Actress and Author; and Codie Elaine Oliver, Producer and Director. CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure and HHS Region 2 Director Dr.Dara Kass also participated in the discussion.