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Building on Ways and Means GOP Efforts, HHS Works to Improve Maternal Health

October 22, 2020

Key Points: 

-The U.S. Surgeon General issued a challenge to providers to help fight our nation’s rising maternal mortality rate.

-Providers should work to “address care for women with hypertension who are pregnant and/or postpartum” and “breastfeeding initiation and continuation disparities among breastfeeding mothers.”

-The Administration also announced a new program to “improve maternal health data and create a network of at least 200 hospitals to deploy clinical, evidence-based best practices in maternity care.”

– Ways and Means Republicans have led the charge to reverse course on the U.S.’s high maternal mortality rate, launching an investigation in 2018 to determine the cause of these problems.


Trump Administration Challenges Providers to Improve Maternal Care

The Trump Administration is working to increase maternal health in the U.S. Through these grant competitions, providers working to help women with hypertension and/or those working to address the racial disparities in maternal health can apply to receive federal funding from the federal government to continue that work.

The Administration said that the two competitions are divided into three phases. “Phase 1 will identify effective programs that can successfully target gaps and disparities. Phase 2 will demonstrate that programs can be adapted and applied to more women resulting in positive outcomes. Phase 3 will evaluate whether the programs were successfully replicated and/or expanded. The deadline for Phase 1 of both challenges is November 16, 2020.”

Ways and Means GOP Leadership

Republicans launched an investigation in 2018 to determine the cause of these troubling maternal health trends. The goal of the investigation was to identify legislative steps Congress could take, and to finds ways that the nation could reverse these trends.

That investigation led to the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program for five years. In that law, Congress asked states to review how resources were being deployed to best target at-risk mother and babies.

But more work remains to be done. That is why, in 2019, Republicans asked Democrats to join the effort and continue the investigations so that lawmakers could work toward bipartisan solutions.

Following that call, Ways and Means GOP Leader Kevin Brady and Chairman Richard Neal asked HHS to compile a comprehensive review of its programs and models that relate to combatting maternal mortality and for GAO to complete a report outlining relevant federal data collection, programs, and studies, as well as possible trends and patterns in U.S. maternal mortality that the government collects.

To learn more about the HHS Hypertension Innovator Award Competition please visit:

To learn more about the HHS Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge please visit:

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