Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to improve maternal healthcare in New Jersey by expanding Medicaid coverage to include group prenatal care services has been signed into law.
Sen. Tom Kean’s legislation to improve maternal healthcare in New Jersey has been signed into law. (Flickr)
“Right now, moms and babies across the country are dying at disturbing rates from preventable complications,” said Kean (R-21). “Here in New Jersey, the statistics are particularly alarming, especially among women of color. Our state’s most vulnerable mothers and newborns deserve greater access to quality healthcare throughout pregnancy. The enactment of this law will help close the racial disparity gap, create stronger families, and save lives.”
Kean’s bipartisan law, S-3405/A-5021, expands 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.
“Increasing access to prenatal services will unquestionably lead to lower mortality and morbidity rates for mothers,” added Kean. “This new law, along with the rest of our bipartisan maternal healthcare package, will increase the number of healthier and happier new moms and newborns. It’s a win for Garden State families.”
These bills are 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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