New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill to Improve Health Care of Minority Women Clears Senate

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Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to advance the health of African-American women is on the way to Governor Murphy’s desk for consideration.

Sen. Tom Kean’s bill would create a study of the factors accounting for inconsistencies in health care for minority women. (Flickr.com)

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

“For more than 50 years, minority women have suffered with more disease, complications and deaths in every aspect of women’s health. This initiative will help us discover the causes and address the issues,” said Kean (R-21). “Mortality rates three to four times higher for pregnant African-American women are unacceptable. We can close the gap and significantly improve the health outcomes for new mothers and their children.”

The study would consider strategies to address racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes. The office would have a year to report its findings to the governor and Legislature.

“This groundwork will help us identify and develop 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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