Texas health officials have missed a key window to complete the state’s first major updated count of pregnancy related deaths in nearly a decade, saying the findings will now be released next summer, most likely after the Legislature’s biennial session.
The delay, disclosed earlier this month by the Department of State Health Services, means lawmakers won’t likely be able to use the analysis, covering deaths from 2019, until the 2025 legislative cycle. The most recent state-level data available is nine years old.
In a hearing this month with the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, DSHS commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said the agency wanted to better align its methodology with that of other states, and that there hadn’t been enough staff and money to finish the review for a scheduled Sept. 1 release.
Ortique said the state has already identified 149 potential maternal deaths in 2019, of which 118 have been analyzed by the committee to see if they were pregnancy-related. Six newly identified deaths may be added to that group, she said. The numbers cover deaths during the pregnancy through one year after giving birth.
The state has published a maternal death report every other year since 2014, often based on preliminary data updated later. For example, the maternal death report in 2018 identified 29 deaths in 2012 that were not included in the previous report. The committee also released updating findings from its most recent report, studying deaths from 2013, at the Sept. 2 meeting.
Out of 175 potential maternal deaths in 2013, 70 have since been determined to be pregnancy-related.
Author(s): Julian Gill and Jeremy Blackman, San Antonio Express-News
Publication Date: 14 Sept 2022
Publication Site: Governing