November 20, 2019


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today applauded the unanimous passage of his amendment to increase access to postpartum care for new mothers covered by Medicaid in the weeks after giving birth. Following guidelines proposed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Kennedy’s amendment to the Helping MOM’s Act would require the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) to review bundled payments, which would incorporate these guidelines, to ensure that women are getting the care that is right for them when they need it. Clinical guidelines now recommend that postpartum care happen prior to the traditional six week visit and should include a full assessment of mood and emotional well-being. Kennedy serves as a founding member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

“Too many mothers in this country have lost their lives after being told to wait patiently for critical care or to trust in a system that too often fails to see their health and humanity. If we listen to providers, experts, and mothers, we know that postpartum care must be immediate, it must be continuous, and it must be comprehensive. By increasing access to care and ensuring it includes screenings for behavioral health, this amendment will bring urgency to a crisis that has left too many babies without mothers and too many women bearing the physical and emotional scars of our failure to confront it.”

The amendment requires MACPAC, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that provides policy and data analysis and makes recommendations to Congress, to complete a report on bundled payments for postpartum care. Given new recommendations on the need for continuous care that also incorporate behavioral health assessments, MACPAC’s report will enable the medical community to re-evaluate current care bundles and assess the best way to provide holistic care for women to reduce the maternal mortality rate.

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For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2019 

Dan Black (202) 225-5931