Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation on Wednesday designed to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce New Jersey’s high maternal mortality rate.
At a press conference at University Hospital in Newark, Murphy said, “I’m honored to have signed four bills which help us meet head on our state’s maternal and infant mortality crisis. By enacting these measures today, New Jersey is making a strong statement that every mother and every child counts.”
First Lady Tammy Murphy said: “Today marks a special moment in the work we have done together to ensure equity and care among all residents of the wonderfully diverse state of New Jersey.”
In response to the governor’s announcement, Cathy Bennett, New Jersey Hospital Association president and chief executive officer, said “Today is an important step in continuing to make New Jersey the safest place in the world to deliver a baby. NJHA applauds the Governor and the Legislature for prioritizing and strengthening their commitment to mothers and babies around the state.”
Bennett said that NJHA’s members have long been engaged in the continuous quality improvement process, asserting that for at least the last decade, New Jersey’s labor and delivery hospitals have worked with experts to successfully improve breastfeeding rates, decrease early elective deliveries and build a network of dedicated providers determined to give every mom and baby the best start possible.
“Their work continues through collaborative efforts to reduce severe maternal morbidity and mortality from hemorrhage and preeclampsia, preventing unnecessary cesarean sections for first-time, healthy mothers and eliminating racial disparities in outcomes,” said Bennett.
“It’s the responsibility of the entire health care community to ensure that moms and babies have access to safe, quality care. Our efforts working with community partners to ensure mothers receive the necessary care from preconception through delivery and the first year of a baby’s life are aligned with the vision of the Murphy Administration, including First Lady Tammy Murphy and the department of health, and the Legislature. We look forward to continuing to work together,” said Bennett.
“These new laws by the Murphy administration and our state legislators create innovative policy changes that will improve maternal-child health and create a healthier next generation in our state,” said Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
“These innovations recognize that holistic care for pregnant women, new mothers, and their babies must extend beyond the walls of the hospital or doctors’ office. The reforms also will pilot a new model of care that rewards providers based on the quality of care and the support they provide to women giving birth,” Schwimmer said.