HB 583 — Health-Maternal Mortality Review Program-Reporting Requirement

Committee: House Health & Government Operations Committee

Position: Support with Amendment 


The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) offers this supporting testimony with amendment to House Bill 583. The Conference represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

House Bill 583 addresses an important issue – the racial disparities of the maternal mortality rates of non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White women as well as data on changes in the maternal mortality rate by race and ethnicity.

While the Maryland Maternal Mortality Review Program (the Program) was established in statute in 2000 (Md. Ann. Code Health-General Art. §13-1203-1207) to identify maternal death cases, medical records and other relevant data, it lacks pertinent details to determine the full scope of Maryland’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) and the causes therein.

In the U.S., Black women have an MMR 2.4 times greater than White women and according to data from the Program’s 2018 Annual Report, “between years 2012-2016, White MMR in Maryland decreased 34.6 percent and the Black MMR increased 20.5 percent.” This statistic is highly alarming as 2018 U.S. Census data shows that Maryland’s population is 30.8 percent Black and within that number roughly 50 percent are women within a childbearing age.

The attached amendment would ensure that ALL factors contributing to maternal mortality are examined in-depth to purview the data and racial disparities properly. Without examining the full scope of the problem, a solution cannot be presented.

It is for these reasons that the Conference asks for a favorable report, inclusive of the attached amendment, for House Bill 583. Thank you for your consideration.

Amendment One:

Page 2, lines 9 - 10: after “DATA ON CHANGES IN THE MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE BY RACE AND ETHNICITY” insert, “INCLUDING REPORTING A LIST OF ATTRIBUTING FACTORS, KNOWN TO CAUSE MATERNAL MORTALITY BY RACIAL DISPARITY AND LOCATION; SUCH AS ACCESS TO PRENATAL CARE AND REGULARITY OF CARE, PREVIOUS PREMATURE BIRTHS AND TO-TERM PREGNANCIES AS WELL AS POST-TERM BIRTHS, MISCARRIAGES, ABORTIONS, FETAL DISTRESS, BIRTH DEFECTS OR ABNORMALITIES, CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS, SUBSTANCE INTAKE AND USAGE, CORD PROLAPSE, CEPHALOPELVIC DISPROPORTION (CPD), PLACENTA ISSUES, CARRYING MULTIPLES, PROLONGED LABOR, AND ABNORMAL POSITIONING.”