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S. 1491: Rural MOMS Act


The text of the bill below is as of Apr 29, 2021 (Introduced).


II

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1491

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 29, 2021

(for herself, Ms. Murkowski, Mr. King, Ms. Ernst, Mrs. Gillibrand, Ms. Stabenow, and Mr. Luján) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend the Public Health Service Act to improve obstetric care in rural areas.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services Act or the Rural MOMS Act.

2.

Improving rural maternal and obstetric care data

(a)

Maternal mortality and morbidity activities

Section 301 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 241) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsections (e) through (h) as subsections (f) through (i), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after subsection (d), the following:

(e)

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall expand, intensify, and coordinate the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to maternal mortality and morbidity.

.

(b)

Office of Women's Health

Section 310A(b)(1) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242s(b)(1)) is amended by striking sociocultural contexts and inserting sociocultural (race, ethnicity, language, class, income) contexts (including among American Indians and Alaska Natives, as such terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act), and geographic contexts.

(c)

Safe motherhood

Section 317K(b)(2) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247b–12(b)(2)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (L), by striking and at the end;

(2)

by redesignating subparagraph (M) as subparagraph (N); and

(3)

by inserting after subparagraph (L), the following:

(M)

an examination of the relationship between maternal health services in rural areas and outcomes in delivery and postpartum care; and

.

(d)

Office of Research on Women's Health

Section 486 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 287d) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (9) as paragraphs (5) through (10), respectively;

(B)

by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

(4)

carry out paragraphs (1) and (2) with respect to pregnancy, with priority given to deaths related to pregnancy;

; and

(C)

in paragraph (5) (as so redesignated), by striking through (3) and inserting through (4); and

(2)

in subsection (d)(4)(A)(iv), by inserting , including maternal mortality and other maternal morbidity outcomes before the semicolon.

3.

Rural Obstetric Network Grants

The Public Health Service Act is amended by inserting after section 317L–1 (42 U.S.C. 247b–13a) the following:

317L–2.

Rural Obstetric Network Grants

(a)

In general

For the purpose of enabling the Secretary (through grants, contracts, or otherwise), acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, to establish collaborative improvement and innovation networks (referred to in this section as rural obstetric networks) to improve outcomes in birth and maternal morbidity and mortality, there is appropriated to the Secretary, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $3,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2025. Such amounts shall remain available until expended.

(b)

Use of funds

Amount appropriated under subsection (a) shall be used for the establishment of collaborative improvement and innovation networks to improve maternal health in rural areas by improving outcomes in birth and maternal morbidity and mortality. Rural obstetric networks established in accordance with this section shall—

(1)

assist pregnant women and individuals in rural areas connect with prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care to improve outcomes in birth and maternal mortality and morbidity;

(2)

identify successful prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum health delivery models for individuals in rural areas, including evidence-based home visiting programs and successful, culturally competent models with positive maternal health outcomes that advance health equity;

(3)

develop a model for collaboration between health facilities that have an obstetric health unit and health facilities that do not have an obstetric health unit;

(4)

provide training and guidance for health facilities that do not have obstetric health units;

(5)

collaborate with academic institutions that can provide regional expertise and research on access, outcomes, needs assessments, and other identified data; and

(6)

measure and address inequities in birth outcomes among rural residents, with an emphasis on Black and American Indians and Alaska Native residents, as such terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

(c)

Requirements

(1)

Establishment

Not later than October 1, 2021, the Secretary shall establish rural obstetric health networks in at least 5 regions.

(2)

Definitions

In this section:

(A)

Frontier area

The term frontier area means a frontier county, as defined in section 1886(d)(3)(E)(iii)(III) of the Social Security Act.

(B)

Indian tribe

The term Indian tribe has the meaning given such term in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

(C)

Native Hawaiian health care system

The term Native Hawaiian Health Care System has the meaning given such term in section 12 of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act.

(D)

Region

The term region means a State, Indian tribe, rural area, or frontier area.

(E)

Rural area

The term rural area has the meaning given that term in section 1886(d)(2)(D) of the Social Security Act.

(F)

Tribal organization

The term tribal organization has the meaning given such term in the Indian Self-Determination Act.

(G)

State

The term State has the meaning given that term for purposes of title V of the Social Security Act.

.

4.

Telehealth network and telehealth resource centers grant programs

Section 330I of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254c–14) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (f)(3), by adding at the end the following:

(M)

Providers of maternal, including prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care services and entities operation obstetric care units.

;

(2)

in subsection (h)(1)(B), by inserting labor and birth, postpartum, before or prenatal; and

(3)

in subsection (j)(1)(B), by inserting , including equipment useful for caring for pregnant women and individuals, including ultrasound machines and fetal monitoring equipment before the semicolon.

5.

Rural maternal and obstetric care training demonstration

Part D of title VII of the Public Health Service Act is amended by inserting after section 760 (42 U.S.C. 294k) the following:

760A.

Rural maternal and obstetric care training demonstration

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall establish a training demonstration program to award grants to eligible entities to support—

(1)

training for physicians, medical residents, including family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology residents, and fellows to practice maternal and obstetric medicine in rural community-based settings;

(2)

training for licensed and accredited nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, certified midwives, certified professional midwives, home visiting nurses, or non-clinical professionals such as doulas and community health workers, to provide maternal care services in rural community-based settings; and

(3)

establishing, maintaining, or improving academic units or programs that—

(A)

provide training for students or faculty, including through clinical experiences and research, to improve maternal care in rural areas; or

(B)

develop evidence-based practices or recommendations for the design of the units or programs described in subparagraph (A), including curriculum content standards.

(b)

Activities

(1)

Training for medical residents and fellows

A recipient of a grant under subsection (a)(1)—

(A)

shall use the grant funds—

(i)

to plan, develop, and operate a training program to provide obstetric care in rural areas for family practice or obstetrics and gynecology residents and fellows; or

(ii)

to train new family practice or obstetrics and gynecology residents and fellows in maternal and obstetric health care to provide and expand access to maternal and obstetric health care in rural areas; and

(B)

may use the grant funds to provide additional support for the administration of the program or to meet the costs of projects to establish, maintain, or improve faculty development, or departments, divisions, or other units necessary to implement such training.

(2)

Training for other providers

A recipient of a grant under subsection (a)(2)—

(A)

shall use the grant funds to plan, develop, or operate a training program to provide maternal health care services in rural, community-based settings; and

(B)

may use the grant funds to provide additional support for the administration of the program or to meet the costs of projects to establish, maintain, or improve faculty development, or departments, divisions, or other units necessary to implement such program.

(3)

Academic units or programs

A recipient of a grant under subsection (a)(3) shall enter into a partnership with organizations such as an education accrediting organization (such as the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education, or the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant) to carry out activities under subsection (a)(3).

(4)

Training program requirements

The recipient of a grant under subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2) shall ensure that training programs carried out under the grant include instruction on—

(A)

maternal mental health, including perinatal depression and anxiety and postpartum depression;

(B)

maternal substance use disorder;

(C)

social determinants of health that impact individuals living in rural communities, including poverty, social isolation, access to nutrition, education, transportation, and housing; and

(D)

implicit bias.

(c)

Eligible entities

(1)

Training for medical residents and fellows

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a)(1), an entity shall—

(A)

be a consortium consisting of—

(i)

at least one teaching health center; or

(ii)

the sponsoring institution (or parent institution of the sponsoring institution) of—

(I)

an obstetrics and gynecology or family medicine residency program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (or the parent institution of such a program); or

(II)

a fellowship in maternal or obstetric medicine, as determined appropriate by the Secretary; or

(B)

be an entity described in subparagraph (A)(ii) that provides opportunities for medical residents or fellows to train in rural community-based settings.

(2)

Training for other providers

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a)(2), an entity shall be—

(A)

a teaching health center (as defined in section 749A(f));

(B)

a Federally-qualified health center (as defined in section 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act);

(C)

a community mental health center (as defined in section 1861(ff)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act);

(D)

a rural health clinic (as defined in section 1861(aa) of the Social Security Act);

(E)

a freestanding birth center (as defined in section 1905(l)(3) of the Social Security Act);

(F)

a health center operated by the Indian Health Service, an Indian tribe, a tribal organization, or a Native Hawaiian Health Care System (as such terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and section 12 of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act); or

(G)

an entity with a demonstrated record of success in providing academic training for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse-midwives, certified midwives, certified professional midwives, home visiting nurses, or non-clinical professionals, such as doulas and community health workers.

(3)

Academic units or programs

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a)(3), an entity shall be a school of medicine or osteopathic medicine, a nursing school, a physician assistant training program, an accredited public or nonprofit private hospital, an accredited medical residency program, a school accredited by the Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council, or a public or private nonprofit entity which the Secretary has determined is capable of carrying out such grant.

(4)

Application

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, including an estimate of the amount to be expended to conduct training activities under the grant (including ancillary and administrative costs).

(d)

Duration

Grants awarded under this section shall be for a minimum of 5 years.

(e)

Study and report

(1)

Study

(A)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall conduct a study on the results of the demonstration program under this section.

(B)

Data submission

Not later than 90 days after the completion of the first year of the training program, and each subsequent year for the duration of the grant, that the program is in effect, each recipient of a grant under subsection (a) shall submit to the Secretary such data as the Secretary may require for analysis for the report described in paragraph (2).

(2)

Report to Congress

Not later than 1 year after receipt of the data described in paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that includes—

(A)

an analysis of the effect of the demonstration program under this section on the quality, quantity, and distribution of maternal, including prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care services and the demographics of the recipients of those services;

(B)

an analysis of maternal and infant health outcomes (including quality of care, morbidity, and mortality) before and after implementation of the program in the communities served by entities participating in the demonstration; and

(C)

recommendations on whether the demonstration program should be expanded.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2025.

.

6.

GAO report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the maternal, including prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care in rural areas. Such report shall include the following:

(1)

The location of gaps in maternal and obstetric clinicians and health professionals, including non-clinical professionals such as doulas and community health workers.

(2)

The location of gaps in facilities able to provide maternal, including prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care in rural areas, including care for high-risk pregnancies.

(3)

The gaps in data on maternal mortality and recommendations to standardize the format on collecting data related to maternal mortality and morbidity.

(4)

The gaps in maternal health by race and ethnicity in rural communities, with a focus on racial inequities for Black residents and among Indian Tribes and American Indian and Alaska Native rural residents (as such terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act).

(5)

A list of specific activities that the Secretary of Health and Human Services plans to conduct on maternal, including prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care.

(6)

A plan for completing such activities.

(7)

An explanation of Federal agency involvement and coordination needed to conduct such activities.

(8)

A budget for conducting such activities.

(9)

Other information that the Comptroller General determines appropriate.