New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill to Protect New and Expectant Moms Passes Senate

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Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) to improve maternal healthcare in New Jersey has passed the New Jersey Senate.

Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to improve maternal healthcare has passed the New Jersey Senate. (Flickr)

“Mothers and babies are dying at alarming rates from preventable complications nationwide – and in New Jersey, the rates are especially shocking, particularly among women of color,” Kean said. “We need to take a proactive approach to improving the care and support we provide for women throughout pregnancy, as well as during childbirth and the postpartum period. By expanding access to quality group prenatal care, we can ensure that every baby born in New Jersey gets a healthy start.”

The bill, S-3405, would expand the State Medicaid program to cover group prenatal care services pursuant with guidelines set forth by CenteringPregnancy.

The CenteringPregnancy model, developed by the Centering Healthcare Institute, is designed to enhance participation in group prenatal care from minority and low-income communities. S-3405 was modeled after South Carolina’s recent implementation of a similar program.

In New Jersey, African American mothers are dying at disproportionately higher rates than white mothers during childbirth. Group prenatal care visits have been shown to virtually eliminate racial disparities in premature births.

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that “group prenatal care is an innovative and promising model with comparable pregnancy outcomes to individual prenatal care in the general population and improved outcome in some demographic groups.”

Group prenatal care services can also help reduce the rate of premature births, and provide cost savings to healthcare systems, as preterm births can be more than ten times more expensive than a full-term delivery.

“New Jersey must improve care for all expectant mothers, regardless of their race or socioeconomic means. I hope to see our bipartisan maternity care package continue to advance as swiftly as possible. The lives of mothers and children in New Jersey depend on it.”

S-3405 is part of a comprehensive bipartisan bill package sponsored by Senator Tom Kean, Senator Joe Vitale, Senator Bob Singer, and Senator Ron Rice to improve maternal, prenatal, and newborn healthcare Statewide.

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