Illinois’ maternal mortality report suggests more government programs

SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) –Illinois’s first-ever maternal mortality report recommends more government services for mothers after childbirth.

More than half of the key recommendations in Illinois’ new maternal mortality report suggest that state government do more. The Illinois Department of Public Health released the report earlier this month. It doesn’t include suggestions on how to pay for the services.

The report recommends expanding Medicaid to cover mothers for up to a year after a delivery.

“As it relates top pregnancy-associated deaths, quite a few of those deaths occur after 42 days postpartum,” IDPH Director Nirav Shah said. “That’s significant. It shows us that expanded Medicaid coverage just up until the first six weeks postpartum is not sufficient. That’s a new finding from this report. And that’s the kind of data that we need in order to craft proper policies.”

The report also suggests that Illinois expand the state’s home visit services. Shah said there’s a commitment to do that as soon as possible.

Shah said that implementing the report’s recommendations will cost money.

“The question to ask is: ‘Can we afford not to fund it?’ The impact of severe maternal mortality, as well as morbidity, is significant,” Shah said. “So the real question is not whether we can fund it, but whether we can afford not to.”

Shah doesn’t have a price tag or a guess as to where the money would come from.