Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 6, 2014

Bill to create maternal mortality review passes Georgia Senate

Staff report
CNHI

ATLANTA — The Georgia State Senate passed Senate Bill 273 Tuesday by a vote of 51-1.

Sponsored by Sen. Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge, the legislation requires the Department of Public Health to establish a Maternal Mortality Review Committee to review and develop strategies to prevent maternal deaths in Georgia.

“I am glad the Senate acknowledged the importance of investigating Georgia’s maternal mortality rates,” said Burke, a Bainbridge physician.

“Unfortunately, Georgia has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the United States. It is crucial to form this committee in order to better understand this issue and to provide for the safety of women statewide. Maternal deaths are a serious public health concern and have a tremendous family and societal impact,” Burke explained.

As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal mortality revolves around the death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy termination. In Georgia, maternal deaths have been inadequately documented in the past, preventing efforts to identify and reduce or eliminate the causes of death.

The information collected by the committee will remain confidential, except for the narrow purpose of review by the committee. Reports will be distributed to the General Assembly, health-care providers and facilities, key government agencies and others necessary to reduce the maternal death rate.

Senate Bill 273 will now travel to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Burke represents the 11th Senate District, which includes Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller and Seminole counties and portions of Mitchell and Thomas counties. He may be reached by phone at (404)656-0040 or by email at dean.burke@senate.ga.gov.