U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand calls it a maternal health crisis and is calling for legislation and nearly $180 million in federal funding to address it.
At a press conference Friday at Trillium Health’s Women’s Care and Wellness Center in Rochester, the New York Democrat pointed to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Twenty percent of survey respondents reported being mistreated by a health care provider during pregnancy and childbirth,” Gillibrand noted. “This includes being yelled at or scolded, ignored, threatened, withheld from treatment, or forced to accept unwanted treatment. The number is even higher in cases where nearly 30% of them report abuse.
Gillibrand said she is also pushing for legislation called the Mother Matters Act, which would establish a grant program to support mothers dealing with mental health disorders and behavioral health treatment.
State Sen. Samra Brooke (D-55) said New York state is making progress and is pleased with the additional federal support.
“Here in New York State, we have increased funding for doula support, supported culturally appropriate maternal mental health screenings, and also established a maternal mental health workgroup,” Brook said. Nor does the federal government believe in this effort. “
Jason Barnecut-Kearns, president and CEO of Trillium Health, said there needs to be a “concerted effort to address long-standing inequities.” He noted that a recent report from Common Ground Health states that Rochester’s Latino community is three times more likely to experience negative health outcomes.
The report also found that Rochester’s black communities face dramatically higher rates of premature death from nearly every disease, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and premature birth defects, Barnekatt-Kearns said. It also states: It also shows that racial health inequalities are particularly acute among black women, she said.
Gillibrand said statistics show the maternal mortality rate in Monroe County is 56% higher than the New York state average, and said the state needs to “invest in the social determinants of health, like housing and nutrition.”
The senator called on the federal government to provide more education and support services for mothers by investing in doulas and perinatal health workers.