S. 1491 would expand reporting and research related to maternal health, establish two new grant programs to improve maternal health care in rural areas, and permit existing telehealth grants to be given to maternal and obstetric care units.
Section 2 would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further disaggregate maternal health data and to report on research focused on maternal health in rural areas. Based on information from CDC and historical spending patterns for similar activities, CBO estimates that section 2 would increase spending by $16 million over the 2021-2026 period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
S. 1491 would authorize $3 million annually over the 2022-2026 period to establish the Rural Obstetric Network Grants program to fund networks aimed at improving maternal and infant health and reducing preventable maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be directed to report to the Congress on funded activities. Based on historical spending patterns for similar activities, CBO estimates that the program would cost $13 million over the 2021-2026 period. The rest would be spent after 2026.