According to an AJC article from 2018, Georgia has a history of ranking last in the nation for maternal mortality rates, though it may even be worse than the numbers that have been reported over the years. The Department of Public Health shows in its 2018 numbers a rate of 46.2 deaths per 100,000 births in Georgia. This represents a rate 19.8 deaths per 100,000 higher than the national rate of 26.4 and 9 deaths per 100,000 higher than 2016.
This past session the Georgia House passed HR 589 that formed the House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality. The bill states that up to 60% of the deaths are preventable.
From a press release:
“Georgia simply cannot continue to have one of the nation’s worst rates of maternal mortality,” said Speaker David Ralston. “This is an issue which impacts all Georgians and demands a fact-based approach to problem-solving. I look forward to the study committee’s findings and recommendations which will be considered in the 2020 legislative session.”
The committee will be co-chaired by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) and Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta). Rep. Cooper is the Chairman of the House Health & Human Services Committee as well as a medical administrator and registered nurse. Rep. Newton is the House Majority Caucus Chief Deputy Whip as well as a physician specializing in emergency medicine.
The other House members appointed to the study committee are:
· Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula)
· Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus)
· Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs)
· Rep. Valencia Stovall (D-Forest Park)
· Rep. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville)
The Speaker also appoints the following citizen members who are also members of the Georgia Maternal Mortality Review Committee:
· Dr. Jane Ellis, MD, PhD – Medical Director, Emory Regional Perinatal Center
· Dr. Chad Ray, MD – Associate Professor, Medical College of Georgia