Wolf Administration Wins $2.25 Million Grant to Reduce Maternal Mortality Rates

September 03, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced it received a $2.25 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the efforts of the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PA MMRC).

“This grant will be extremely helpful in furthering the work of the committee that I established last year and that is working diligently to address the critical issue of rising maternal deaths,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “It’s imperative that we continue to take immediate action to determine the reasons for these deaths and to develop prevention recommendations.”

“Improving health during pregnancy and the postpartum period is essential for the well-being of mothers, infants, families and communities,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Unfortunately, there are many racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health and maternal mortality. This funding from the CDC will help us review and examine cases of maternal deaths, understand how they could potentially have been prevented, and develop policy and prevention strategies to reverse the trend of maternal mortality. We will continue to work to decrease the incidence of maternal deaths within the state and protect the health of Pennsylvania mothers.”

The PA MMRC reviews all pregnancy associated deaths in the commonwealth, regardless of cause of death. Pregnancy-associated deaths are the death of a woman during pregnancy, or up to one year following the end of the pregnancy, regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy. This includes drug-related deaths, homicides and suicides. The committee determines if the death was related to the pregnancy, identifies contributing factors, determines if the death could have been prevented and makes recommendations to prevent future deaths.

The department will receive the $2.25 million grant over five years. This will allow the department to hire more staff to coordinate and manage the PA MRRC, collect and analyze data, and conduct multidisciplinary reviews of pregnancy associated deaths. Funds will also go toward the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review Committee so it can access resources needed to combine its efforts with the department’s.

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

According to the CDC, most pregnancy-related deaths occur after pregnancy. Among these deaths nationally 31 percent occur while pregnant, 36 percent occur at delivery or in the week after, and 33 percent occur one week to one year after pregnancy.

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

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