State Maternal Mortality Bill Calls for New Physician Reporting Requirements

This week the House Health Policy Committee considered legislation that would create a new requirement for reporting maternal deaths. If passed, House Bill 4235, introduced by Representative George Darany (D-Dearborn), would require a physician or any individual in charge of a health facility who was present for or aware of a maternal death to submit information to the Michign Department of Health and Human Services to be included in the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN). Under the bill, a maternal death is defined as the death of a woman who was pregnant at the time or within one year before her death. Several healthcare organizations testified in support of the bill including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Michigan State Medical Society and the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health.

Questions were raised by some committee members regarding the necessity for the mandatory reporting requirement as Michigan has the 8th highest overall maternal death rate in the country, which they surmised may be reflective of a more robust reporting system compared to other states. Supporters countered that because maternal mortality is one of the basic health indicators that reflects the state’s health status, the process in Michigan must be strengthened to ensure all maternal deaths are identified, and accurate and comprehensive data are collected. The bill will likely be voted on in Committee next week.