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Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill to Bolster Health of Minority Women Clears Budget Committee

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Targets disparities in care and outcomes of African-American women

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s legislation to improve the health of African-American women was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s legislation directs the New Jersey Office of Minority and Multicultural Health to study factors influencing the dramatic differences in death, disease and injury rates between white females and women of color. (Flickr)

“Minority women have suffered with more deaths, complications and serious diseases in every aspect of women’s health, and the disparity has persisted for more than five decades,” said Kean (R-21). “There’s no reason we can’t close the gap and significantly improve the health outcomes for new mothers and their children. This initiative will help us discover the causes and address the issues. We cannot accept mortality rates three to four times higher for pregnant African-American women.”

The bipartisan bill (A-5029/S3522) directs the New Jersey Office of Minority and Multicultural Health to study factors influencing the dramatic differences in death, disease and injury rates between white females and women of color.

The study would consider how racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes can be addressed. Within a year, the findings would be reported by the office to the governor and the Legislature.

“This groundwork will aid in the identification and development of innovative projects to improve the health of minority women throughout the state,” Kean noted. “Ultimately, we will elevate the health and care of all women.”

Kean and Democrat co-sponsor Senator Ron Rice have teamed up on several new laws addressing the maternal mortality crisis in New Jersey in the past year.

  • S-3405/A-5021, signed into law in August, expands the State Medicaid program to cover group prenatal care services pursuant with guidelines set forth by CenteringPregnancy. Group prenatal care is an innovative model with comparable pregnancy outcomes to individual prenatal care in the general population and improved outcome in some demographic groups.
  • S3406 targets New Jersey’s high maternal and infant mortality rates for African Americans and became law in May. It codifies requirements for the completion of a Perinatal Risk Assessment form by healthcare providers to aid in gathering common information about Medicaid-eligible expectant women.

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