Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society reacts to Massachusetts maternal morbidity data

Massachusetts Medical Society reacts to Massachusetts maternal morbidity data

The Massachusetts Medical Society is deeply concerned by the data presented in today’s report that show rates of severe maternal morbidity in Massachusetts (SMM) doubled between 2011 and 2020, with unacceptable disparities in rates of SMM for Black birthing individuals and other marginalized populations.

The Medical Society asserts that access to health care is a basic human right and, as the data underscores, our health care system has fallen woefully short in endeavoring to ensure that all birthing individuals receive quality, safe, equitable, and compassionate care. Maternal morbidity is emerging as a key measure in efforts to prevent maternal mortality and address maternal health inequities. Most cases of severe maternal morbidity are preventable through timely access to quality care, but the underlying causes and contributing factors are numerous – including but not limited to underlying chronic disease, social determinants of health, the effects of discrimination and racism, and inequitable access to maternal care.

The Medical Society will continue to advocate for legislation that addresses racism in health care and to educate physicians about the detrimental effects of bias in medicine We will make every effort to prevent severe maternal morbidity and, as an integral part of that work, amplify the voices, experiences and needs of disproportionately impacted communities by acknowledging and confronting generations of all forms of racism that have led to birthing-related deaths and morbidities in our current public health crisis. We must continue to research, measure and take tangible action to identify and address risk factors that contribute to preventable morbidities, and the Medical Society is committed to working with the Commonwealth and continuing to play a key role in this work.

-Barbara S. Spivak, MD, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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