Durbin, Duckworth Announce $450,000 In Federal Funding To Support Maternal Health In Illinois

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been awarded $450,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM) Program. The funding will support IDPH efforts to identify, review, and characterize maternal deaths, and identify prevention opportunities.

“No nation as rich and advanced as the United States should have new moms and infants—especially women and babies of color—dying at the rates we are currently seeing,” Durbin said.  “Many of these deaths could have been prevented with the right interventions and health care. That’s why I’ll continue fighting for this federal funding and supporting legislation to increase investments in maternal and postpartum health care.”

It is absolutely unconscionable that hundreds of expectant and new moms are estimated to have died from preventable causes in this country,” Duckworth said.  “I’m proud to work with Senator Durbin to help secure funding that addresses our nation’s growing maternal mortality crisis, which disproportionately impacts women of color and those living in underserved or more rural areas.”

This year, Senators Durbin and Duckworth, along with U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), introduced legislation to reduce America’s rising maternal and infant mortality rate, especially for moms and babies of color who are significantly more likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy. In Illinois, African American women are six times more likely than white women to die of pregnancy-related complications. Based on a number of ideas recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 2018 Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report, the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA) Act would:

  • Expand Medicaid coverage for mothers up to one year postpartum (versus 60 days in current law) with full federal funding for this expansion population;
  • Improve coverage and access to doulas;
  • Improve hospital coordination and reporting on maternal outcomes;
  • Ensure adoption and implementation of best practices for improving maternity care; and
  • Create regional centers of excellence to improve implicit bias and cultural competency training among health care providers.