Report: Deaths of Pregnant Women in Idaho More Than Doubled in 2020 - Idaho Capital Sun

Report: Deaths of Pregnant Women in Idaho More Than Doubled in 2020 – Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho women who died of pregnancy-related issues doubled between 2019 and 2020, latest says Maternal Mortality Review Committee report released Friday by the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness.

The review board, which includes obstetricians, nurses, midwives, medical examiners and other professionals from across Idaho, identified 11 maternal deaths in 2020. That’s up from five deaths in 2019 and 10 in 2018.

In all but one case, the committee did not identify the COVID-19 virus as the underlying cause of death.

Six of the women were pregnant at the time of their death, while three were pregnant within 42 days of their death and two were pregnant within a year of their death.

All of the deaths were deemed preventable with more knowledge and continuity of care, the report said, with six having a good chance of changing the outcome with appropriate monitoring and treatment. Eight of the 11 women — or 72% — were covered by Medicaid. Nine of the 11 deaths were determined to be pregnancy-related, meaning a cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy.

The Idaho Legislature Approved Funding for a Grant to Establish a Maternal Mortality Review Committee

The Idaho Legislature approved a bill establishing the Maternal Mortality Review Committee in 2019 with funding from a four-year grant provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 12-member multidisciplinary committee reviews the medical and death records of women who die during or within a year of pregnancy to identify trends and risk factors and provide policy recommendations and best practices to legislators and regulators. health professionals.

Because the committee is funded by grants, it has an expiration date of July 2023, when it will need to be reassessed by the Idaho Legislature to continue in the future.

The committee is working to determine the cause of death and whether it was preventable, whether it was pregnancy-related, factors that contributed to the death, and recommendations and actions that could prevent similar deaths in the future.

Map of Idaho health districts
The distribution of 11 pregnancy-related deaths by health district. (Maternal Mortality Review Committee Report 2020)

None of the deaths occurred in Idaho’s fourth health district, according to the report, which includes Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties.

The new report sent Idaho’s pregnancy-related death rate as calculated by the committee skyrocketing from 13.6 to 41.8 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births in the year following the pregnancy. This metric includes deaths from injury, substance abuse, overdose, and suicide.

When these causes are excluded, the rate further increased from 18.1 in 2019 to 32.5 in 2020.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Wellness vital statisticsthere were 21,540 live births in Idaho in 2020.

The committee found that three of the deaths could be attributed to neurological or neurovascular disorders, such as strokes, aneurysms and epilepsy, three were related to infection or injury, one was related to a mental health and two to cardiovascular medical problems.

Committee recommends more funding for mental health care and increased Medicaid coverage

In its recommendations, the report’s authors urged the Idaho Legislature to remove the expiration date from the law authorizing the committee so that its work can continue. If the Idaho legislature doesn’t remove the sunset on the legislation authorizing the committee to continue its work, it will be the last report on maternal mortality.

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They also recommended the creation of a statewide perinatal collaboration to promote best practices and multidisciplinary care for pregnant women and said Idaho Medicaid should expand its coverage for pregnant women of the current two months. at 12 months.

Postpartum complications can include physical conditions such as hemorrhage, sepsis, hypertension, and blood clots, and mental health issues often include anxiety and depression.

The committee also recommended increased funding for mental health resources and specialty providers in Idaho, including telehealth, and advocated for more communication channels between providers for better coordination of patient care. The final recommendation said coroners should refer people who were deceased and pregnant at the time of death or recently pregnant for autopsy and toxicology if the person was under 50 and did not appear to have suffered trauma.

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