House Bill 340
151st General Assembly (Present)
Ready for Governor for action
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CHILD AND MATERNAL MORTALITY.
Improving the quality of maternal health care and ensuring full access to it improves health outcomes and reduces preventable pregnancy-related deaths. The United States has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality among high-income countries and wide disparities by race that have been documented since rates separated by race were first published in 1935. Currently, Indigenous and Black women are dying at two to three times the rate of White women, Asian/Pacific Islander women, and Hispanic women. Investigating maternal deaths—specifically by obtaining information beyond vital statistics data—is imperative to understanding why people may die while pregnant, during labor and delivery, and in the postpartum period. (Source: Guttmacher Institute) Maternal mortality review is an essential component for improvement. Delaware added the review of maternal mortality to the duties of the existing Child Death Review Commission in 2008, however, the focus and processes of the Commission need improvement to match our evolving understanding of maternal morbidity and mortality as well as racial disparities. This Act changes the name of the Commission, from “Child Death Review Commission” to “Child and Maternal Death Review Commission” to reflect the intended dual focus of the Commission. The definition of “maternal death” is updated to include death during pregnancy or within a year from the end of pregnancy, and related to, or aggravated by, the pregnancy or birth, including death by suicide. The membership of the Commission is updated to include a midwife, a doula, and a member of a community group focused on women’s health, teen pregnancy, or public health. In making appointments to the Commission, the Governor is directed to consider the racial diversity of the membership. Most of the work of the Commission and death review panels is quite properly, closed to the public, to protect sensitive medical information and other protected personal information. However, to increase access to the work of the Commission, and to provide the Commission with the insight of diverse members of the public and with other public bodies addressing similar issues, the Act requires the Commission to hold at least one annual meeting jointly with the Delaware Perinatal Quality Collaborative to discuss findings, recommendations, and initiatives of that body. The Commission is also required to publicly post its draft report to the General Assembly and Governor and accept written public comment thereon, as well as hold a public meeting in each county to present its draft findings and recommendations and accept public comment.
Takes effect upon being signed into law