(Washington, DC) – Ahead of today’s National Maternal and Infant Health Summit, Mayor Bowser has announced that she will introduce legislation to require the Chief Medical Examiner to investigate all maternal mortalities occurring in Washington, DC. The information obtained by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) through mandatory maternal death investigations will provide more timely data to the District’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee
“Through this legislation, we can do more to prevent tragedies before they happen,” said Mayor Bowser. “At today’s summit, we will be looking closely at how DC and communities across the nation can better use this type of information to identify and close gaps in our systems and to be the change our women, babies, and families need us to be.”
Earlier this year, the Mayor assembled the District’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, a 17-member team charged with determining the causes associated with maternal mortality in the District. The committee is responsible for identifying data trends among District maternal mortalities and tasked with developing a strategic framework to improve outcomes for expecting mothers. Findings and recommendations from the committee will be published as part of an annual report.
This new legislation, the Investigating Maternal Mortalities Amendment Act of 2019, is necessary to require mandatory reporting of all maternal deaths occurring in the District at the time of death so that the OCME can assume primary jurisdiction to conduct forensic death investigations and determinations. By ensuring uniform reporting of maternal mortalities to the OCME, the District ensures that timely and accurate medical insight is available to not only grieving families but also used to inform systemic health care policy changes and/or recommendations.
Today, at 9 am, Mayor Muriel Bowser will host the District’s second National Maternal and Infant Health Summit. Mayor Bowser is bringing together a vibrant list of speakers and leaders to address a community audience and develop an agenda that tackles the disproportionally high rates of maternal mortality experienced by people of color – in both Washington, DC and across the nation. Mayor Bowser will provide welcome remarks and participate in the keynote luncheon panel moderated by WUSA9’s Lesli Foster and featuring actress and activist Alyssa Milano.