Mississippi House passes bill to improve maternal and infant mortality

The Mississippi House of Representatives has passed a bill along bipartisan lines that lawmakers hope will improve maternal, fetal, and infant mortality rates.

Last week, House Bill 539 passed on a 117-5 vote, and will now go to the Senate for approval. Under the bill, pregnant women in Mississippi who apply for Medicaid would have 60 days of “presumed eligibility” while their applications for coverage are considered.

said Dr. Anita Henderson, a Hattiesburg pediatrician, says early prenatal care is important — for both moms and baby

“If a mother waits until the second or third trimester, they lose the opportunity to treat their high blood pressure treat diabetes, any type of chronic medical condition,” he says. “And all those medical conditions affect the growth and development of that baby. I think it’s going to help our infant mortality and our maternal mortality rate. It’s just one piece of the puzzle. We need OBs, too. -GYN. … We need providers and nurses.”

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Last year, Mississippi lawmakers also expanded Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, so women can continue to get medical care after giving birth.

“Sadly, Mississippi is number one in infant mortality, infant mortality and maternal mortality. And those are just places we can’t accept,” said Rep. Missy McGee. “This is a good combination with the bill we passed last year, which provided postpartum coverage for up to 12 months. So, I think we cover both ends of a woman’s pregnancy to give her the best chance for a healthy pregnancy.

The presumptive eligibility program is estimated to cost less than $600,000 a year, which McGee said it will be worth it. “The benefits are great, and the risks are very small,” he said. “In a state where you have the highest fetal mortality, infant mortality and maternal mortality rates, this will go a long way.”

Attorney General Lynn Fitch also announced the unveiling of a new website in November, providing help for Mississippi mothers. There, women can find helpful information in nine different categories, including pregnancy, health, adoption, food, commodities, safety, money, childcare, and jobs in faith-based sectors , private, and public. “Today marks just the beginning of MAMA,” Fitch said when announcing the new site. “In the coming months, we expect it to grow and offer new and exciting opportunities and resources for Mississippi women and families. I hope MAMA reminds mothers across the state of this important truth: you are not alone, and you can do it!”

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