CMS Unveils Actions to Reduce Maternal Morbidity and Mortality

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week, in observance of Black Maternal Health Week, announced a series of actions aimed at reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in the U.S. CMS released additional details about its proposed “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation intended to drive improvements in maternal health outcomes.

According to CMS, the new designation would assist consumers in selecting hospitals that have demonstrated a commitment to maternal health and the delivery of high-quality maternity care. Initially, the designation would be based on a hospital’s attestation to the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program’s Maternal Morbidity Structural Measure, which CMS identifies as a first step in capturing hospitals’ commitments to the quality and safety of maternity care they deliver. The reporting period began in October 2021, and data will be submitted by hospitals for the first time in May 2022. CMS will post the Maternal Morbidity Structural Measure data for October to December 2021 in fall 2022, and initial results for the hospital designation will be posted beginning fall 2023. In the future, CMS intends to expand criteria for which the designation would be awarded.

In addition to the “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation, CMS announced additional states have begun offering Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy. CMS is also working with another 11 states and the District of Columbia, including California, to extend postpartum coverage.

Additional information is available here.