AUSTIN (KXAN) — House Bill 663, which would create a statewide maternal mortality and morbidity data registry, passed in the Texas House of Representatives on Friday.

Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, authored the bill and filed it on Nov. 14, 2022.

Thierry, along with a group of Texas lawmakers, sought answers from the Texas Department of State Health Services after the delayed release of the 2022 Texas Maternal Mortality Report.

“As most are aware, maternal mortality and morbidity rates in Texas have been a growing concern for years now, yet many are unaware that the backlog of compiling maternal health records  is a significant obstacle in addressing this issue,” said Thierry Friday in a statement to KXAN, “A lack of timely, accurate, maternal mortality data hinders our ability to identify trends, and implement effective interventions, so I am pleased that HB 663 is one step closer to correcting this crisis.”

Her concerns were first highlighted in KXAN’s “Mothers Erased” investigation in 2019 which detailed problems with how Texas tracks deaths and near deaths. 

You can read the version of the bill that passed in the House below:

“My bill, HB 663, will play a direct role in improving health outcomes for pregnant women across the state. The objective is to create the first, statewide maternal health data registry so that we can truly begin the meaningful work to prevent all pregnancy related deaths in our state,” Thierry said.

The web portal would collect data from health care providers on deaths during or within one year of delivery. 

Last session, the bill never made it to the full chamber. This is the third session Thierry has been pushing for real-time reporting of maternal health outcomes.