To reduce chances for preterm birth and eliminate associated racial disparities, Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano (D-Union), Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Hunterdon, Mercer), Nancy J. Pinkin (D-Middlesex) and Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) sponsor legislation that expands access to prenatal group care under Medicaid.
Passed 36-0 in the Senate on Monday, the bill (A-5021) will allow women up to 10 prenatal care visits during their pregnancy provided the group visit is a minimum of 1½ hours long and has 2 to 20 women participating.
Sponsors of the bill released the following joint statement:
“Women, children and their health are top priorities here. In the face of rising preterm births across the country creating more opportunity for healthy birth outcomes is a vitally important task. This bill creates patient-centered care proven to work in that respect. What’s more is it works in changing racially disparate outcomes. African American women, the highest at-risk group for preterm birth, experience lowered risk when they seek out group care. It’s exciting to see what this expansion can achieve; its sensitivity to outcomes across demographics makes it all the more important.
“Preventative care of this kind will also relieve the health care system enabling medical resources to shift for use in other critical health areas. And so, connecting women in settings where they can access health assessments, social and clinical support, and participate in educational activities is a game changer.”