Governor Wolf’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee Convenes First Meeting

October 31, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – The Maternal Mortality Review Committee held its inaugural meeting at the Pennsylvania Department of Health yesterday to begin work on finding ways to decrease maternal deaths across Pennsylvania.

Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 24 of 2018 earlier this year establishing the committee as a first step to address the serious issue of increasing maternal mortality across the commonwealth. The committee is tasked with developing programs, policies, recommendations and strategies based on collected data to prevent maternal deaths and protect Pennsylvania mothers.

“With the alarming rate of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania, this committee is now taking the first steps to determine the reasons for this phenomenon and, more importantly, establishing how the commonwealth can help develop prevention recommendations,” Governor Wolf said. “Thanks to the members of the committee for their willingness to bring their time and expertise to the task with a shared goal of determining how to address the growing concern of maternal mortality in Pennsylvania.”

“Conducting this meeting is the first step toward reducing maternal mortality in Pennsylvania,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “As a committee, we will review other maternal mortality review committees’ processes to ensure we are taking the best steps to protect the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s mothers. Together, we will take immediate action to reverse the increasing trend of maternal deaths.”

Representative Ryan Mackenzie, who sponsored the bill that became Act 24, attended the meeting to thank the committee for coming together and for their time and effort in helping to address the issue of maternal mortality in Pennsylvania.

From 2012-2016, there was an increase in maternal deaths with 11.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in Pennsylvania. For black women, that rate is more than double at 27.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Pennsylvania’s rate, while increasing, is below the national rate of 18.0 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births. Nationwide, the pregnancy-related mortality rate for black women was 40.0 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The CDC presented this national data, as well as other information that constitutes the national perspective on the issue, to the committee. They also discussed what lessons other states have learned and presented a report from nine maternal mortality review committees from across the United States.

For more information about maternal and family health, visit www.health.pa.gov or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.

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