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Lawmakers urge more action to grapple with Texas’ maternal health problems

Photo: Stephen Spillman /For The San Antonio Express-News

State Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, speaks about her House Bill 11, relating to pregnancy-related deaths and maternal morbidity, together with postpartum melancholy, that handed through the particular session of the Texas Legislature in July. The poster is photographs of moms who’ve died across the time of kid start.

State Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, speaks about her House Bill…

AUSTIN — It’s no secret that Texas has a health disaster on its arms with the alarming variety of women dying due to issues associated to being pregnant inside a yr after giving delivery, and state leaders haven’t but come to a consensus on discovering one of the best coverage path ahead.

But some women’s health specialists and state legislators agree one of many first steps is ensuring Texas moms have steady entry to health care earlier than, throughout and after childbirth.

“I think we could have made some changes last (legislative) session,” stated Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. “We already knew that access to care was one of the leading problems, and yet we still refuse to do what’s necessary to make sure we have more women getting this access to care.”

On Thursday, Howard gathered alongside different state legislators, health care specialists and Texas care suppliers for a daylong health care coverage convention on the University of Texas at Austin for a slew of panels, from methods to handle the opioid crisis to addressing maternal health in Texas. Most of the panels, no matter matter, touched on maternal mortality sooner or later.

Howard stated step one in tackling the state’s maternal mortality problem is creating coverage to guarantee women have steady health care protection with none breaks or gaps, in order that they get the prenatal and wellness care they want by way of postpartum underneath the identical program. Under present state regulation, women are eligible for Medicaid protection up till 60 days after supply earlier than they’re kicked off.

“That would go a long way to making sure women are going to afford themselves of the care that they need to stay healthy before, during and after the pregnancy,” Howard stated.

The Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, an company beneath the Department of State Health Services, reported in 2016 that 189 moms died inside a yr after of giving delivery in 2011-2012. The drawback has solely worsened, with the state’s maternal mortality price almost doubling since 2011, making the state the worst within the nation, in accordance to 2016 analysis revealed in a nationwide medical journal, although a recent study has cast doubt on these numbers. Most of the moms within the research died from coronary heart illness, drug overdose (notably prescribed drugs), hypertension or hemorrhaging.

“As a mom, I will tell you it’s a miracle to have a healthy baby,” stated Anne Rote, president and CEO of Molina Healthcare of Texas. “There’s so many things that can go wrong.”

The state process drive report made a number of suggestions on how legislators might look at and handle the issue. These included growing entry to care up till a yr after start; growing screening for psychological and behavioral health issues (particularly postpartum melancholy); and enhancing the standard of demise certificates knowledge.

According to a current research, there’s a connection between the shortage of high quality knowledge and women dying throughout being pregnant, in childbirth or the 42 days thereafter. It discovered that the state’s demise fee just isn’t as excessive as beforehand discovered, however it’s nonetheless worse than different states all through the nation.

Some legislators on the panels stated the Legislature wants to take a look at addressing how demise certificates are written and signed to clear up a number of the knowledge problems.

“We need to be sure there’s good integrity around the data,” stated Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, and a candidate for speaker of the House of Representatives. “We don’t want to try to create solutions for something that the data doesn’t really support.”

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