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Baldwin Confident Maternity Care Bill Will Pass Senate

Baihly Warfield
Updated: November 28, 2018 06:16 PM

Out of 72 counties in Wisconsin, 26 do not have any OB/GYNs serving people there, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has a plan she believes can change that. 

She introduced the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act in the spring, and it will be debated in the Senate Health Committee Thursday. 

In the Northland, only two of eight counties have OB/GYN services. Women living in Bayfield, Iron, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer and Price do not have any OB/GYNs in their immediate area. 

"It means that in order to access prenatal care as well as delivery services, pregnant women have to travel significant distances," Baldwin said.

She told a story about one woman who had to drive 90 minutes from Door County to Green Bay while she was in labor. 

Baldwin's bill would require the Health Resources and Services Administration to keep track of maternity care shortage areas. 

"While we have a robust federal program to help place healthcare providers in underserved communities, what surprised me was that they were not looking specifically at access to maternal care," Sen. Baldwin said. 

The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), so Baldwin is confident it will have a "strong vote" to get out of committee and then pass the full Senate. 

"This is not too tall of an order for, first of all, getting the data," Baldwin said. "There are resources within each state that can help assess which communities are underserved."

Once the data is collected, medical professionals from the National Health Service Corps can be deployed to areas with shortages. 

She hopes it will be on President Donald Trump's desk and signed into law by the end of the year. 

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Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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