There is a serious problem in New Jersey when it comes to infant and maternal health. As attorneys who represent families in some of the worst points in their lives, we are thrilled by the new legislation that Governor Phil Murphy recently introduced. The Nurture NJ campaign was created by the state’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy, and will focus on collaboration between organizations that touch on maternal and infant health, and amplification of existing programs and services throughout the state.”
As part of the overall campaign, the First Lady has been holding Family Festivals throughout New Jersey, especially in cities where the infant mortality rate is higher for children of color. Nurture NJ will also include an annual Black Maternal and Infant Health Leadership Summit, to help communities access the resources they need.
Governor Murphy applauded the bills, issuing the following statement in a press release:
“By enacting these measures today, New Jersey is making a strong statement that every mother, every birth, and every child matters. I am proud to sign these bills into law and commend my partners in the Legislature for their commitment to improve the health and safety of New Jersey’s women, children, and families.”
The bills signed by Governor Murphy
- S1784 – Allows those seeking doula care to receive Medicaid coverage.
- S3365 – Creates a pilot program in Medicaid for perinatal episode of care.
- S3378 – Prohibits health benefits coverage for certain non-medically indicated early elective deliveries under Medicaid program, SHBP, and SEHBP.
- S3406 – Codifies current practice regarding completion of Perinatal Risk Assessment form by certain Medicaid health care providers.
Results of a USA Today investigation
Each year in the United States there are more than 50,000 women who suffer a serious complication that can be traced back to their pregnancy or childbirth. Of those 50,000 women, approximately 700 die annually.
USA Today has conducted multiple investigations into the hospitals across the country, highlighting just how dangerous it is for women to give birth in this country. The news source listed its “10 takeaways” from the work:
- Hospitals know how to protect mothers.
- Hemorrhage and high blood pressure needlessly kill too many women.
- Hospitals often won’t say whether they follow key safety practices.
- Safety data about maternity care is kept secret.
- Moms suffer complications far more often at some hospitals.
- Black moms are harmed twice as often as white moms.
- Many states fail to track and study moms’ deaths.
- Congress is investigating maternity hospital care.
- The human toll is enormous – and growing.
- You can help hold hospitals and healthcare providers accountable.
CDC: Most deaths are preventable
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most deaths related to pregnancy can be prevented. In a report published earlier in May, the CDC said that out of every five mothers who die from pregnancy and childbirth, three could be saved if they were given better care. The report said that mothers are dying during pregnancy, during childbirth, immediately after childbirth and even up to one year following childbirth.
The Director of the CDC’s Reproductive Health Division, Wanda Barfield, said, “Our new analysis underscores the need for access to quality services, risk awareness, and early diagnosis, but it also highlights opportunities for preventing future pregnancy-related deaths.”
At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, we applaud these latest initiatives to help protect new mothers and their families. New Jersey scores far too low, and does far too poorly, when it comes to protecting mothers. That is why our firm fights so hard for clients. If you sustained injuries during birth, or if your child has been injured, we want to help. Please call 732-777-0100 or complete our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation at one of our offices in Edison, Red Bank or Toms River.