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Rep. Young Kim

May 15, 2024 | Health, In The News

Foreign Affairs NZ

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Young Kim (CA-40), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Dan Meuser (PA-09), and Kim Schrier (WA-08) introduced the bipartisan Rural Obstetrics Readiness Act to support rural health care facilities providing critical obstetric care.

“One’s zip code should not determine one’s access to health care. Unfortunately, many women in rural areas face additional hurdles to receive maternal health care,” said Congresswoman Young Kim (CA-40), co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus. “The Rural Obstetrics Readiness Act aims to bridge this alarming gap in maternal health care and provide the workforce, training, and equipment to meet patients’ unique needs regardless of where they live. I am proud to help introduce this important bipartisan bill and will keep fighting as Maternity Care Caucus co-chair to support women, babies, and families at all levels.”

“I’m proud to represent a district that is urban, suburban, and rural and serve the unique needs of so many diverse communities. No mother should be without quality maternal health care, during pregnancy, labor, or postpartum, regardless of where they live,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will provide targeted support for rural health care facilities in Illinois and across the country. This legislation will provide the necessary resources, including training, equipment, and improved collaboration networks, to ensure that every mom and baby has the tools they need to thrive. As a leader of the Maternity Care Caucus, I will always work across the aisle to tackle the maternal mortality crisis and ensure that mothers have the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives with their baby.” 

“Expecting mothers in rural Pennsylvania deserve nothing less than exceptional obstetric health care,” said Congressman Dan Meuser. “This legislation aims to tackle the maternal health crisis facing our country. The introduction of targeted federal grants will equip rural health care facilities with the capacity to handle obstetric emergencies with advanced technologies and trainings. I’m pleased to co-lead this crucial bill, as it will deliver essential resources directly to rural health facilities, offering much-needed support to mothers and children.”

“As a physician and a mother who experienced a high-risk pregnancy, I know how crucial access to obstetrics care is for the health and safety of pregnant women and babies. Accessible, timely care can make all the difference throughout pregnancy and particularly during labor,” said Congresswoman Kim Schrier. “The 8th District encompasses nearly 10,000 square miles, with many of my constituents living in rural areas and lacking access to nearby medical needs like obstetrics care. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation to improve resources, training, and overall quality of rural obstetrics care to ensure that pregnant women receive the best possible care so that they may safely deliver healthy infants.”

The Rural Obstetrics Readiness Act will support rural hospitals and doctors handling obstetric emergencies by:

  • Directing the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health to create an obstetric emergency training program for rural health care facilities that do not have a dedicated labor & delivery unit;
  • Establishing new federal grants for rural health care facilities to purchase necessary equipment to carry out obstetrics readiness training and response;
  • Creating a pilot program to support a statewide or regional network of obstetric and maternal health care teams that can provide urgent teleconsultation to rural facilities; and
  • Directing HHS to study maternity ward closures, regional patterns of patient transport, and models for regional partnerships for rural obstetric care.

Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Katie Britt (R-AL), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The Rural Obstetrics Readiness Act is supported by the National Rural Health Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Academy of Family Practitioners, American Society of Anesthesiologists, MomsRising, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.

Full text of the legislation is HERE.

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