The following is a press release issued on Sen. Jacky Rosen’s website on January 8, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Todd Young (R-IN), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) announced the introduction of 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.
“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.”
“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 Act to require the FCC to connect broadband and health data, and improve the health and well-being of Hoosier families.”
“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.”
“The rising rate of maternal mortality is a national crisis. Far too many pregnant women are not able to access the care they need. But solutions to this problem do exist and technology can help. But we will never be able to manage the problems we do not measure,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Communications Commissioner. “So kudos to Senator Rosen for her leadership and thank you to Senator Fischer, Senator Young, and Senator Schatz for their bill that will build on data involving maternal health and incorporate it into the FCC’s broadband mapping efforts. This is a terrific tool, because it will help build a fuller picture of where we require resources to improve maternal health and how expanded telehealth resources can be deployed to those areas.”
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.
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