As more reports come in on the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, TMA has convened a task force of public health experts to help Texas physicians prepare for the next phase. We’ve started by compiling all the news and information you need right now on our online resource center. Bookmark that page as we will update it continually.
COVID-19 Resource Center
A recent study ranked Texas 50th among all states in access to high-quality prenatal and maternal care. The study evaluated states based on six metrics tied to access and quality, but two criteria in particular accounted for Texas’ low ranking.
New Resource for Physicians developed by the TMA Committee on Reproductive, Women’s, and Perinatal Health and the Committee on Infectious Disease. Texans have the highest incidence of congenital syphilis in the US, and according to the latest state data, reported cases have increased by over 200% from 2017 to 2019. Physicians must test according to state requirements. As well as understanding treatment recommendations, physicians must be knowledgeable about the social determinants of health that affect access to care and testing for pregnant women. Stillbirths, newborn deaths, and birth defects can be prevented if physicians identify the condition early and provide preventive care.
Starting next year, private health plan policies that began after the Affordable Care Act went into effect now will have to cover multiple types of prevention counseling for women, as well as contraceptive care, double electric breast pumps, and more.
A new national report by the March of Dimes gave Texas a grade of D for its number of preterm births compared with other states and says Texas also is below the national average in prenatal care – both indicators of maternal health in the state.
Texas has taken some big steps to combat maternal death and illness in recent years, says the vice chair of the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee. But there's no doubt the state has many more steps to go.
In light of a low COVID-19 vaccination rate among people who are pregnant, and a recent high in COVID-19-related deaths among that population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking health care professionals to “strongly recommend” the vaccine to people who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future.
This website includes the latest information from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission on the program eligibility process, patient benefits, program fact sheets, and outreach materials for three programs:
What else, you ask? You will find the updated version of THE TEXAS Long-Acting Reversible Contraception TOOLKIT which provides information that physicians and their teams can use to increase LARC availability and addresses some common billing and reimbursement questions. Interested in helping identify and provide treatment for women with postpartum depression? The Texas Clinician’s Postpartum Depression Toolkit (Vol2) is available to put all of the pieces together – from screening tools and treatment to coding and billing for uninsured and underinsured women.
While maternal mortality is decreasing in most countries, maternal death rates in the U.S. have been increasing and Texas is recognized as having the highest maternal death rate in the country. Texas’ own study on maternal deaths indicates that Texas’ rates have nearly doubled in recent years. Some of the leading factors contributing to Texas’ maternal deaths include drug overdose, cardiac events, hypertension/eclampsia, and hemorrhage — factors that require the care and treatment of a physician and health care team. And with most maternal deaths occurring many months after childbirth, coordinated and comprehensive postpartum care provided by a physician is essential for the early identification and monitoring of health issues and complications that can develop post childbirth. Individual behavioral factors that put women at risk of maternal illness such as smoking, drug use, and obesity further complicate the care of the woman, and the need for comprehensive and timely community support and care even months after giving birth.
Read the following TMA articles:
Bills Would Help Improve Maternal Health in Texas(Texas Legislative Hotline, April 1, 2021)
Work to Improve Maternal Health for All Texans, Physician Tells TMA Members(Texas Legislative Hotline, March 10, 2021)
TMA’s Maternal Health Congress Turns Spotlight on Saving New Moms (Texas Medicine Today, March 27, 2018)
A Disturbing Trend: Medicine Examineauses for Spike in Texas' Maternal Mortality Rate(Texas Medicine, December 2016)
The Texas Medical Association (TMA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) invited physicians, health care professionals, and public health experts to review the recent findings of the state’s Maternal and Morbidity Task Force, and the current state initiatives to address maternal health and safety. Three workgroups will identify challenges and develop action plans to reduce maternal deaths and morbidity through the areas of systems of care, public health systems, and data.
The Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force was created by Senate Bill 495, which passed during the 83rd Legislative Session in 2013. The multidisciplinary task force studies and reviews cases of pregnancy-related deaths and trends in severe maternal morbidity, and makes recommendations to help reduce the incidence of pregnancy-related deaths and severe maternal morbidity in Texas.
DSHS Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force
Maternal Mortality and Morbidity task force report
Legislation: Senate Bill 495, 83rd, 2013; Senate Bill 1599, 85th , 2017; Senate Bill 17 85th (1), 2017
DSHS Grand Rounds, Healthy Texas Babies: Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review, May 14
Latest Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Info
Maternal Health Equity in Texas: How Can We Get There?
In their 2020 joint biennial legislative report, the Texas Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee (MMMRC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services said that of the 137 pregnancy-associated deaths in 2013 the committee reviewed, 39% were identified as pregnancy-related. Moreover, while non-Hispanic Black women account for 11% of the live births in 2013, they represent 31% of the pregnancy-related deaths.
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Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies
Texas Perinatal Advisory Council
Just like you, TMA is committed to stopping Texas mothers from dying. Here's how you can help.
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