January 10, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act, bipartisan legislation that would utilize data mapping to show where high rates of poor maternal health outcomes overlap with lack of access to broadband services in order to help identify where improved access to telehealth services can be most effective.
“Indiana has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country. Identifying areas with both high maternal mortality rates and a lack of adequate internet access will enable us to deploy life-saving telehealth services to the places that need them most,” said Senator Young. “I’m proud to introduce the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Actto require the FCC to connect broadband and health data, and improve the health and well-being of Hoosier families.”
BACKGROUND: The Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act (S. 3152) would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to map areas in the United States that have both internet service gaps and high rates of poor maternal health outcomes. Access to this critical information will help identify where improved access to telehealth services can be most effective, an issue of particular importance as U.S. women face startling statistics during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), severe complications related to pregnancy, known as severe maternal morbidity, impacts over 50,000 women in the U.S. each year.
“Improving the maternal health of Nevada women is critically important,” said Senator Rosen. “In rural areas especially, lack of access to medical services can lead to severe complications and worse outcomes for pregnant women. This legislation would work to map out areas with a need for both increased maternal care and access to internet. With this information, we can better target where telemedicine and technology infrastructure improvements can be most effective to improve outcomes for moms, and to save lives. I will continue working in Congress on forward-thinking solutions to improve the health of Nevadans.”
“For many pregnant women in rural communities, local resources to support maternal health are strained. The closest hospital is often far away, putting the lives of mothers and their babies at risk,” said Senator Fischer. “Telehealth technology can help track the health of mothers who don’t have easy access to routine checkups – but first, we need to ensure there’s adequate internet connectivity. I am proud to join Senator Rosen in introducing this bipartisan legislation to map broadband deployment data alongside maternal health outcomes and better identify where these telehealth services are needed most.”
“Congress should be doing everything we can to ensure women have access to the quality pre- and post-natal care they deserve,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bipartisan bill will help us better understand gaps in connectivity and care so we can bring more maternal health services to underserved communities.”
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