The following is a legislative update from Democratic Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City, representing Butler, Cerro Gordo, and Franklin counties:
HEALTH & HEALTH CARE
Bill eliminates key health requirements for schools:
Schools serve as a critical partner in ensuring students are healthy and ready to learn. If a student has potential barriers to effective learning, it is important to quickly link them to resources that can help them succeed. Four health screenings—immunizations, dental, vision and blood lead—play a key role in that process.
However, a bill that passed the Senate Education Committee this week eliminates the requirement that schools verify students have had these screenings; and that schools provide information and access to complete the screenings, if the child has not already had them.
Much of the feedback I have received on SSB 1190 tells me that Iowans are worried about the negative impact of this bill, especially in our small towns and rural where areas access to health care services can be more limited.
Maternal health care outcomes worsening in Iowa
Making Iowa a safe place to have a baby is important. Unfortunately, Iowa is taking significant steps backwards.
In less than three years, Iowa’s maternal mortality rate has more than doubled, claiming the lives of 48 women. In addition, in the last two years, more than 40 women lost their uteruses in Cesarean-Hysterectomies at one hospital alone.
Dr. Stephen Hunter, M.D., Maternal Fetal-Medicine physician and Co-Director of the Iowa Statewide Perinatal Care program, recently presented concerning trends in Iowa maternal health care to a bipartisan group of senators.
Here are some of the facts:
· 64 percent of rural Level 1 hospitals have no obstetrician on staff.
· Iowa ranks 50th out of 50 in the number of OB/GYN per capita.
· 31 Labor and Delivery Departments have closed at hospitals throughout Iowa.
· Some women in Iowa have to drive more than 2½ hours to get to a hospital equipped to deliver babies.
· Iowa has a high rate of cesarean births (32 percent), which can lead to future health problems.
· Privatized Medicaid doesn’t cover the full cost for delivering babies in Iowa if health care providers follow the standard of care for length of hospital stay.
Iowa must improve maternal health care to ensure pregnant moms can safely deliver their babies no matter where they live in Iowa.