Registry tracking maternal deaths, near misses one step closer to reality

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bill focused on improving what’s happening to mothers during and after delivery clears a Texas House Committee.

The bill was filed by Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, as KXAN’s “Mothers Erased” investigation looked at tracking and problems with the current data collection centering around maternal deaths and near deaths.

The Public Health Committee voted 9-1 in favor of House Bill 2703 on Monday, but it now includes some changes.

The bill would create a maternal mortality and morbidity data registry. Participating health care providers would submit health information of patients during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Thierry testified earlier this month that this would change the way Texas tracks data.

“This bill is a real game changer,” Thierry said at the hearing. “We really have a chance to prevent future mortalities.”

For several weeks, Thierry went back and forth with the Texas Hospital Association (THA), which had concerns when the bill was first filed.

The updated version would allow the Texas Department of State Health Services to establish a work group which includes hospital doctors and nursing staff along with people appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. 

“THA has worked closely with Rep. Thierry to ensure that creation and implementation of the proposed data registry considers elements critical to supporting maternal health and wellbeing,” the association said in a news release. “Texas hospitals support measuring progress towards the goal of eliminating maternal mortality and morbidity that all health care providers share.”

The work group would deliver its report to the Legislature and the Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Task Force in September 2020.

HB 2703 now faces a tight deadline just days away to pass through the House Calendars Committee before a vote among the full chamber. As lawmakers enter the final month of the session, many pieces of legislation will fail to proceed past this key point in the process due to time constraints and competition with other bills the committee and its leadership choose to prioritize.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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