Members highlight the improvements to healthy birthing outcomes for all

Rep. Rogers speaking on House floor,

State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) speaks on the House floor on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, at the Capitol in Lansing.

LANSING, Mich., June 27, 2024 — The Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. This 10-bill package will address maternal mortality rates, which disproportionately impact mothers of color.

House Bills 51665173 will establish Regional Perinatal Quality Collaboratives maintained through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), require insurers to provide coverage for blood pressure monitors, increase mental health screenings, establish a process for hospitals to register a perinatal facility with maternal levels of care, and reduce the financial burden on families by getting hospitals to share information about enrolling in newborn health insurance plans. 

“This comprehensive package addresses critical aspects of maternal and infant health, from mental health support to accessible health care coverage, ensuring that mothers and babies across Michigan receive the care they deserve,” said state Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit). “The bipartisan support this legislation received is evident of the need and desire to support moms and babies across our state. My bill in this package requires our Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (PQCs) to establish Regional Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (RPQCs) that work intimately with families and communities in developing plans of action to improve healthy birthing outcomes. I am excited about the work that lies ahead in promoting healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.”

State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) sponsored HB 4728 which eliminates redundant breast milk donor testing, decreasing processing times and costs. As chair of the House Health Policy Committee, she was proud to hold hearings and champion support in getting the package passed. 

“As a health care provider and daughter of a mother who taught obstetrics nursing for many years, I have heard many stories about deaths and complications in pregnant individuals that could have been prevented. These policies will go a long way toward improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and their families in Michigan, as well as help drive down the mortality and morbidity rates of mothers, including mothers of color who are often disproportionately affected,” Rogers said.

HB 5027 outlines guidelines for MDHHS to implement regarding prenatal carrier screening for certain genetic conditions.

“Moving these 10 bills today is a meaningful way the Legislature can support healthy pregnancies and the health and wellbeing of new parents and babies in our state. Maternal and infant mortality are multi-faceted challenges, and we must seize every opportunity — big or small, through legislation, policy, education or awareness — to support better birth outcomes. The various bills will remove barriers and open access to services and support that communities across Michigan have identified as necessary in our aggressive efforts to have zero preventable deaths and zero disparities,” said Amy Zaagman, executive director for the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health.

HB 5170, sponsored by state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), requires insurers to provide coverage for mental health screenings during the postpartum period.

“Ensuring access to mental health screenings and appropriate care for mothers is a crucial step in addressing postpartum depression and other mental health challenges. Too often, mental health issues for new mothers go undiagnosed and untreated. By requiring insurance coverage for these screenings, we are making mental health support more accessible and affordable for all families. This is a significant advancement in our efforts to provide comprehensive care for mothers and infants,” Carter said.  

State Rep. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids) sponsored HB 5171. This legislation ensures mental health screenings are included in postpartum medical services under the Social Welfare Act.

“Studies have shown that parents suffering from depression can lead to significant marital and familial problems. The experience directly impacts a child’s growth and development. As policymakers, we must take proactive steps to protect the infants who are most in danger,” Grant said. “The bond mothers have with their infants is priceless. These bills will ensure more mothers are at their prime during one of the most precious times of their lives and are given the tools necessary to be present and engaged with their child.”