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New law focuses on better maternal health care for vets

New national law provides better maternal health care for veterans
Posted at 10:21 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 11:28:23-05

There's a new national law that focuses on maternal health care for veterans to better understand injustice contributing to the death crisis of mothers who have served.

The Protecting Moms Who Served Act passed the House by a 414 to 9 vote. It allows the Veterans Affairs to spend $15 million to improve coordination between VA hospitals treating women veterans and community facilities that provide obstetrics care.

"What we know is that our veterans have a unique set of stressors - things like post traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma - we need to figure out how those things affect our veteran population," said Dr. Tamika Auguste of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists.

Research shows structural racism plays a role in Black and Hispanic moms having poorer birth outcomes and higher death rates, something that OBGYN experts agree can improve with better communication.

"The bottom line is as healthcare providers, we have to take a step back, we have to take a listen to these women in terms of what they're feeling what their concerns are," Auguste said.

Another key is having nurses who can relate to their patients.

"We try to have nurses that look like the moms because a lot of times they feel a lot more comfortable," said Sonia Foster, Associate DNP/Assoc. for Women's Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses. "You know, opening up and disclosing information that's really detrimental to their care."

A number of health experts agree the new Protecting Moms Who Served Act will help bridge the gap between differences in care that women of color and military women receive.