The Illinois Department of Public Health is releasing Illinois’ first Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report. The report identifies statewide trends in maternal deaths and provides recommendations to help prevent maternal mortality.
Key findings include the following:
- In Illinois during 2008-2016, an average of 73 women died within one year of pregnancy.
- In Illinois, non-Hispanic Black women are six times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related condition as non- Hispanic White women.
- In Illinois, 72 percent of the pregnancy-related deaths and 93 percent of violent pregnant-associated deaths were deemed preventable by the review committees.
- Obesity contributed to 44 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in Illinois during 2015.
- In Illinois, the average cost for a delivery with severe maternal morbidity is four times more than a delivery without complications. During 2016-2017, there was a total of $107.5 million in hospital charges related to deliveries with severe maternal morbidity.
Kane County is part of the eight-county West Chicago Region and has the third-highest rate of maternal morbidity — 42.9 deaths for every 10,000 deliveries. There are seven regions statewide.
Why Rates Are Important
According to the state report, maternal morbidity (severe pregnancy complications) and mortality (death) are viewed internationally as indicators used to judge the overall health status of a country, state, or community.
“The work of the Illinois Maternal Mortality Review Committee is essential for reducing maternal deaths and improving the health of all women,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The report is the culmination of more than a year of work done by two IDPH committees, the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, established in 2000, and the Maternal Mortality Review Committee for Violent Deaths, established in 2015. The committees were tasked with reviewing the maternal deaths in 2015 that may have been pregnancy-related.
“I am encouraged to see Illinois taking such bold steps to understand and address this issue,” said U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “The Surgeon General’s office is focused on using the data to tell the stories of affected women and the challenges they face.”
“Through the committee’s work, we’ve found that that factors such as health literacy, poverty, employment, housing, availability of childcare, and quality of education, in addition to health care access, all deeply affect a woman’s ability to be healthy,” said Dr. Robin L. Jones, chair of the Illinois Maternal Mortality Review Committee.
The committees also made specific recommendations, based on their findings, which, when implemented, are expected to reduce maternal mortalities. The recommendations focus on five primary categories: hospitals, health care providers, health insurance plans and managed care organizations, the state of Illinois, and women and their families.
- Illinois should expand Medicaid eligibility for the postpartum period from 60 days to one year after delivery and health insurance plans should cover case management and outreach for high-risk postpartum women for up to one year after delivery.
- The General Assembly should pass legislation to adopt the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ recommended maternal levels of care within the state’s regional perinatal system.
- The state should create or expand home visiting programs to target high-risk mothers, such as doula programs, in Illinois during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The state should also expand efforts to provide universal home visiting to all mothers within three weeks of giving birth.
- Illinois should increase access to substance use and mental health services statewide for pregnant and postpartum women.
- Hospitals should have clear policies for emergency departments to identify pregnant and postpartum women, and to consult with an obstetrical provider for all women with specific triggers indicative of pregnancy or postpartum complications.
- Health insurance plans should separate payment for visits in the postpartum period from labor and delivery (unbundle postpartum visit services from labor and delivery).
“By studying maternal mortality and morbidity (pregnancy complications), we can identify some of the most common complications pregnant and postpartum women face and understand what is causing them,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Equipped with that information, we can address those causes head on, take action to reverse poor health outcomes, and improve the health of women and their babies.”
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release