WASHINGTON –Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) led the introduction of the Social Determinants for Moms Act to make key investments to address the nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes and build healthier communities. This bill is part of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, a robust legislative package led by the Black Maternal Health Caucus aimed to end disparities in maternal health and save moms. Maternal mortality rates in the United States are the worst in the developed world, with 33 deaths for every 100,000 births – and nearly 70 deaths for non-Hispanic Black women. 

Research shows social determinants drive as much as 80 percent of health outcomes and have been shown to have a greater influence on health than either genetic factors or access to healthcare services. This multifaceted public health issue warrants the collaboration of all sectors. Accordingly, the Social Determinants for Moms Act establishes a whole-of-government task force to develop comprehensive strategies to eliminate preventable maternal morbidity and maternal health disparities. Additionally, the legislation establishes a dedicated funding source for community-based organizations and local entities to address social determinants of health during and after pregnancy.

“American moms are dying at the highest rate in the developed world, with Black moms experiencing pregnancy-related deaths three times higher than white women. These long-standing inequities are largely impacted by the social conditions in which people are born, grow, work, and live,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “The maternal health crisis demands immediate federal intervention. By directly investing in efforts to address the social determinants of health, like access to healthy, nutritious foods, affordable housing, transportation, and the mitigation of climate change, we can begin to eliminate generations of disparities and save lives. Alongside the Black Maternal Health Caucus, I am working to ensure every mother, regardless of where they live, their ethnicity, or any other factor, has a safe and healthy pregnancy.”

The Social Determinants for Moms Act builds on the work of Congresswoman Hayes to improve access to quality, affordable health care. In 2021, Congresswoman Hayes introduced the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, legislation to authorize a grant program to improve maternal health outcomes by developing evidence-based practices, improving maternal mortality review committee data, and evaluating new models of care. The legislation would also expand the ability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to award grants for perinatal quality collaboratives to develop and disseminate best practices.

More than 180 organizations have endorsed the Social Determinants for Moms Act. A list of endorsing groups can be found here.

Full bill text of the Social Determinants for Moms Act is available here.

Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act

The Maternal Health Momnibus Act will address the maternal health crisis through historic investments that comprehensively address every driver of maternal mortality, morbidity, and disparities in the United States.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is composed of 12 individual bills. The legislation will:

  1. Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like nutrition, housing, and transportation.
  2. Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.
  3. Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant veterans and support VA maternity care coordination. 
  4. Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people they can trust.
  5. 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.
  6. Invest in programs to expand access to treatments and support for maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
  7. Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.
  8. Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
  9. 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.
  10. Invest in community-based initiatives to reduce levels of and exposure to climate change-related risks for moms and babies.
  11. Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.

“To save moms’ lives and end the maternal health crisis in our country, we need urgent action,” said Congresswoman Underwood, co-chair and co-founder of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “We know what’s needed to end this crisis, and the tools to get it done are within reach. The Momnibus is the solution, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Representative Alma Adams and Senator Cory Booker to make the investments we need to solve our country’s maternal health crisis.”

A section-by-section of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus is available here