SVMC physicians advocate for bills to reduce maternal mortality


BENNINGTON — Two OB/GYNs from Southwestern Vermont Medical Center joined more than 700 of their peers from across the country in Washington last month to advocate for the passage of three acts that sponsors say would help prevent maternal deaths. Malcolm Paine, MD, and Kimberley Sampson, MD, participated in the meeting, was an effort of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Paine chairs SVMC's Department of Obstetrics and ACOG's Vermont Chapter. Sampson serves as vice chair of ACOG's Vermont Chapter.

"The United States is the only industrial nation where maternal deaths are on the rise," Sampson said in a release. "The aim is to provide care that will reverse this trend."

Known as the "Momnibus," this collection of legislation builds on the work of the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which was passed last year. It would support and expand both maternal and perinatal safety and quality improvement initiatives and efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in maternal outcomes.

Most importantly, the legislation would extend Medicaid coverage to 12-months postpartum and work to keep the length of coverage of short-term catastrophic insurance plans, which do not cover maternal health needs, to 3 months, rather than up to 3 years.

"These may seem like small changes, but they truly have an effect on the lives of patients and their children," Sampson said. "Both the positive and the negative results of the laws we make compound over time. We are proud to use our experiences and our voices to push change in the right direction."

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