Children need healthy, thriving caregivers to support them. This means having caregivers who are able to access high-quality physical, behavioral and oral health services in the setting of their choice and from the caregiver of their choice throughout pregnancy, while giving birth and in the postpartum period. However, the rate of maternal mortality in Colorado has increased dramatically in recent years, and rates of maternal morbidity (unexpected outcomes that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to a birthing person’s health) are increasing across the country.
Rates of maternal mortality vary across Colorado. Postpartum people in rural areas are more likely to die than those in urban areas, and Black and Indigenous postpartum people are more likely to die than their white peers. From national data, we know that, due to systemic racism, Black mothers are more likely to die even when income and educational level are held constant. Further, for every maternal death, dozens more people experience traumatic near-death events, including severe maternal morbidity, that can lead to a lifetime of complications. More than 75% of maternal deaths in Colorado are preventable.
The Children’s Campaign leads work to improve maternal health in Colorado by working with advocacy partners and individuals who have been directly impacted by maternal mortality and morbidity. We work to pursue policy changes that improve health care for birthing people in Colorado and address the systemic inequities that contribute to adverse maternal health outcomes.
Recent Policy Successes
SB21-194 (Buckner/Herod) Maternal Health System Improvements improves stakeholder engagement in the state’s maternal mortality review process and requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to improve the public reporting of maternal health data. It also extends Medicaid and CHIP coverage to 12-months postpartum (coverage currently ends 2-3 months after birth), allowing individuals to receive a comprehensive set of services in the year following pregnancy
SB21-137 (Pettersen/Michaelson Jenet & Kennedy) Behavioral Health Restoration Act makes investments in perinatal depression screens in Medicaid, early childhood mental health consultants, and school-based mental health professionals.
HB19-1122 (Buckner & Landgraf/ Fields & Gardner) Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Maternal Mortality Review Committee, re-authorizes and strengthens Colorado’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which reviews cases of maternal mortality to better understand what occurred.
SB19-228 (Winter & Moreno/ Buentello & Singer) Substance Use Disorder Prevention, created pilot programs to prevent and treat substance use disorders and mental health conditions among pregnant and postpartum individuals.
HB19-1038 (Duran & Lontine/Ginal & Story) Dental Services for Pregnant Women on Child Health Plan Plus, provides dental insurance for the 900 pregnant Coloradans each year who use Colorado’s Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) for their health insurance.