castro 051221SPRINGFIELD – Following the release of the second Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report by the Illinois Department of Public Health, State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin) has spearheaded a measure to reduce maternal mortality and support new mothers – especially Black mothers – throughout the state.

“The vast majority of postpartum deaths are preventable, so we need to be doing all we can to minimize those deaths,” said Castro, who has been an ongoing advocate for reducing postpartum morbidity. “This legislation will help all pregnant and postpartum mothers, but it will also work to reduce the racial disparities in maternal mortality.”

According to Illinois Department of Public Health, more than four out of five pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, and Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related conditions than white women. Mental health conditions, including substance use disorders, are the leading cause of pregnancy-related death.

Senate Bill 967 would provide support for pregnant and new mothers for pregnancy-related conditions, including mental health and substance use disorders by requiring private insurance plans to cover postpartum complications up to one year after delivery among other requirements. It would also require hospitals to have a written policy on the management of the leading causes of maternal mortality, which would include guidance from IDPH on best practices in dealing with pregnancy and postpartum complications. Additionally, it would require Medicaid to cover multiple postpartum visits to encourage new mothers to attend.

“This year, Illinois became the first state to expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum mothers,” Castro said. “This legislation would do even more to protect and support new mothers, especially those who are disproportionately impacted by inequities in the health care system.”    

SB 967 passed the Senate Health Committee and now moves to the floor for a full vote.