October 27, 2020

Cassidy, Colleagues Introduce MOM Act to Improve Health Care for Expectant Mothers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Todd Young (R-IN) and Tom Carper (D-DE) today introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at improving health care for expectant mothers.

The Connected Maternal Online Monitoring Services (MOM) Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to provide coverage recommendations for remote devices to check blood pressure, blood glucose and pulse rates. It also requires CMS to update state resources, such as state Medicaid telehealth toolkits, to correspond with the recommendations provided. 

The goal is to improve maternal and infant outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women.

“Mothers and babies dying at the moment of birth are preventable and far too common in Louisiana. We hope this bill to bring the latest technology preserves the health of mothers and babies to truly make what should be a happy experience, a happy experience,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“Devices that can remotely monitor a patients’ vital signs can help support the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and ensure the health of their baby, which is especially important for women who have difficulty accessing regular pre-natal care,” Senator Hassan said. “As we have seen during the pandemic, access to remote health care is essential to strengthening maternal health in New Hampshire and across the country. I will keep working across party lines to help expand Medicaid coverage to ensure that health care providers can continue monitoring a pregnant patient’s health even from afar.” 

“Indiana has historically had one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country, with minority communities suffering the most. I’ve long been working to tackle this crisis and am proud to help introduce the Connected MOM Act, which aims to expand coverage for remote health monitoring devices for mothers enrolled in Medicaid,” said Senator Young. “Research indicates that roughly 60 percent of maternal deaths in the United States can be prevented through patient care, education, and timely interventions. The Connected MOM Act will help improve care and identify potential issues before they become life-threatening.”

“It is critical that we do more to decrease maternal mortality in our country, especially in communities of color. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation which will help improve care for pregnant women covered by Medicaid, which accounts for about half of the births in our country,” said Senator Carper. “By taking common sense steps, we can use innovative tools, like telehealth, to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for mothers all across our country.”

The bill was inspired by the Connected Maternity Online Monitoring program established by Ochsner Health headquartered in New Orleans. Ochsner provides program participants with equipment for at-home checks to both catch potential issues early and to reduce the number of in-person clinic visits.

“We strongly support this bipartisan legislation, led by Senator Cassidy, which will help advance innovative care to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies across the nation, especially within underserved communities. Ochsner has been heavily involved in local and statewide efforts to improve obstetric care as part of our commitment to maximize outcomes for mothers and babies. We believe that the adoption and provision of innovative technologies and devices to Medicaid patients to support patient monitoring of blood pressure and other vitals will change and strengthen the way care is delivered, result in better outcomes and improve the lives of mothers and children.  We thank Senators Cassidy, Hassan, Young and Carper for their leadership on this critical public health issue,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health.

See full text of the MOM Act here.