Friday, March 30, 2018

Doctors Gather Ideas For Stopping Maternal Deaths In Texas

Houston Public Media (Mar. 27, 2018): Doctors Gather Ideas For Stopping Maternal Deaths In Texas, by Ashley Lopez:

Some of the leading physicians in Texas vetted ideas at this past weekend's Texas Medical Association Maternal Health Congress to reduce the deaths of women while pregnant or shortly after giving birth.

One of the biggest challenges addressed was lack of access to health care. Dr. Carlos Cardenas, president of the Texas Medical Association, said the problem starts with family planning.

Since Texas implemented significant funding cuts for family planning in 2011, the rate of unplanned pregnancies in Texas has risen 27 percent. Medicaid also isn’t serving enough Texas women. The state didn’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, so many women are not getting health care before they’re pregnant.

Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst, chairman of the Texas Medial Association’s Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured, said women are also kicked out of the state’s Medicaid program just 60 days after giving birth.

Physicians also discussed why black women in Texas are dying at higher rates than white women while pregnant or after giving birth. Dr. Carla Ortique, vice chair of the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, said individual and institutionalized racism are to blame.

“Until we address these issues, the inequities will persist,” she said. “But why should we care? Aside from the ethical and moral reasons that we as physicians are pledged to, it’s economically imperative to address these issues.”

Ortique said research shows racial inequities cost Americans hundreds of millions dollars a year.

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