TMA’s 8-Point Plan to Stop Maternal Deaths in Texas
By Sean Price

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As part of its ongoing effort to save newborn mothers’ lives, the Texas Medical Association will take up a proposal for legislation and educational initiatives that will directly affect the risk factors for maternal mortality and morbidity.

At the Annual Meeting of the TMA House of Delegates this month, TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, will outline eight recommendations that TMA should pursue in order to protect the health of all women of child-bearing age.

"Texas needs to invest more energy and resources into healthy birth outcomes for all mothers and children," said Dr. Cardenas, who has been a leader in TMA’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. "Doing so means providing physicians and other health care professionals with the tools they need to ensure that no mother dies because of childbirth."

The recommendations stem from the work of TMA’s Maternal Health Congress, a day-long summit held in March at which experts identified the problems – and solutions – to this growing crisis.

The recommendations focus on overcoming barriers to care for women and children; improving access to contraceptives; and educating physicians, other health care professionals, and the public on recognition, prevention, and treatment.

Among the highlights:

  • Asking Texas to seek a federal waiver to create a program that provides 12 months’ continuous coverage for preventative, primary, behavioral, and specialty care before, during, and after pregnancy;
  • Developing continuing medical education (CME) for physicians that focuses on women with substance abuse disorders, including guidelines for prescribing opioids and treatment of anxiety and depression;
  • Pushing for legislation to make long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) more easily available, and developing CME designed to increase patients and physicians’ awareness of LARCs;
  • Developing CME for physicians, nurses, and hospitals on standardized protocols and best practices for prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care; and
  • Creating a public campaign that highlights the importance of early and timely maternal health care and promotes existing community-based efforts.

TMA members can comment on the proposals at the Reference Committee on Socioeconomics before the plan goes to the full House of Delegates for approval.

More information on TMA’s work on maternal mortality and morbidity can be found on TMA’s website.

Update: This story has been updated to say the TMA House of Delegates adopted an eight-point plan to address Texas' maternal health crisis.

Last Updated On

November 17, 2018

Sean Price

Reporter

(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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