Earlier this month, AAMFT joined with many other healthcare organizations in endorsing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, a historic legislative package unveiled in both the House and Senate on February 8 by Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Alma Adams (D-NC), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 will build on existing maternal health legislation, like policies to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage, to comprehensively address every dimension of America’s maternal health crisis. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act makes investments in social determinants of health, community-based organizations, the growth and diversification of the perinatal workforce, improvements in data collection, and support for moms and babies exposed to climate change-related risks.
Mental health conditions are a leading cause of maternal deaths. This legislation addresses maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders, with a particular focus on women of color. The Momnibus Act is a historic step to end America’s mortality crisis and achieve maternal health justice.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is composed of 12 individual bills. The legislation will:
- Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
- Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.
- Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant veterans and support VA maternity care coordination.
- Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people they can trust.
- Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
- Invest in programs to expand access to treatments and support for maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
- Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.
- Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
- Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.
In addition, this legislation has some particular provisions pertaining to the mental health workforce:
- Invest in community-based organizations and culturally congruent maternal mental and behavioral health care providers to ensure that pregnant and postpartum people have access to the maternal mental health and substance use disorder treatments, services, and support they need, with a particular focus on pregnant and postpartum people of color.
- Provide funding for programs to grow and diversify the maternal mental and behavioral health care workforce to expand access to culturally congruent care and support for pregnant and postpartum people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
Many Members of Congress support this legislation. AAMFT looks forward to consideration of this critically important legislation by Congress this year.