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New Push To Take On Maternal Health Inequities: 'It's Time To Put An End To The Maternal Health Crisis'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Healthcare inequities put more Black mothers at risk of death. Now there's a new push at the federal level to change the trend.

As CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports, for emergency physician Dr. Sandra Scott, Black maternal health is personal. Her son was born 15 weeks early.

"I was able to get the resources I needed to make decisions I needed to make around my child's healthcare, but I'm imagining the people who didn't have those resources," Scott said.

Black babies are more likely than any group to be born premature, and Black mothers are 2.5 times more likely than white mothers, and 3.5 times more likely than Hispanic women to die due to childbirth, despite income levels according to the CDC.

As the executive director of the Brookdale Hospital, Scott says new partnerships with community organizations help provide more assistance to mothers, but there are financial barriers.

"We are not compensated as a safety net hospital … the way non safety net hospitals are compensated," Scott said.

"We're here to say it's time to put an end to the maternal health crisis," said Sen. Charles Schumer.

Schumer joined lawmakers, advocates and healthcare professionals pushing for the passage of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act being considered in Congress. It includes funding for community-based organizations addressing disparities, training for healthcare professionals and diversifies the perinatal workforce.

Schumer also hopes to extend post-partum Medicaid benefits from two months to an entire year for new mothers.

"This 'momnibus' is a bus women of all backgrounds have been waiting to board, and we cannot afford to miss it," said Rep. Yvette Clarke.

In New York City, mothers of color face even harsher realities.

"Being ignored after miscarriage, when my partner and I needed mental health resources. Being pointed to hysterectomy, when I routinely expressed more interest in having more children," said expecting mother India Sneed-Williams.

Sneed-Williams' partner is Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is now taking his longtime advocacy even further, outlining recommendations from mandating insurance coverage of doulas and midwives to improving outcomes of preterm births, all as the issue now hits closer to home.

The price tag of the federal proposal is between $2-5 billion. It's part of President Joe Biden's larger Build Back Better plan, the House of Representatives plans to vote on next week.

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