Keeping Current @ the Capitol: Maternal Mortality Study Committee, Meeting 1

Author: HMHBGA Staff

The House Maternal Mortality Study Committee (MMSC) convened for the first time September 19, 2019 from 1-3 PM. The MMSC is chaired by Chairwoman Sharon Cooper (Marietta) and Representative Mark Newton (Augusta). Legislative members of the MMSC include Representatives Chuck Efstration (Dacula), Deborah Silcox (Sandy Springs), Darlene Taylor (Thomasville), Carolyn Hugley (Columbus), and Valencia Stovall (Forest Park). Dr. Chad Ray and Dr. Jane Ellis also serve as citizen members of the MMSC.

The meeting focused on the establishment, data review process, and findings of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) as well as the work of the Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative (GaPQC). To watch a recording of the meeting visit here. Below is a summary of what was discussed.

Michael Lindsay, MD, Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC)

  • MMRC began in 2010 and started as a maternal mortality advisory council to review maternal deaths.
  • The MMRC has published findings for 2012-2014 cases and recently concluded the 2015 case review. Prior to the establishment of the MMRC, maternal death case review had been completed for a period up to the year 2000 but not picked up again until 2012.
  • SB 273, which passed in the 2013-2014 session, secured legislative protections for the MMRC and strengthened their authority to obtain case records.

Michael Bryan, PhD, Maternal Mortality Data

  • Of the 250 maternal deaths reviewed from 2012-2014, 101 (40%) deaths were pregnancy-related. 60% of these pregnancy-related deaths were determined to be preventable.
  • There is a need to improve the vital records and case reporting process to accurately capture the occurrence of maternal deaths across the State.
  • The MMRC will be examining the social determinants of health related to each case and other sources of data (i.e. Cancer Registry, GA Violent Death Reporting, etc.) moving forward.

Chris Tice, Case Abstraction and MMRC Review

  • Cases are reviewed using a number of data sources to paint a picture of the mother’s last one or two years of life to better understand what contributed to her death.
  • All cases regardless of cause of death that occur up to 365 days after delivery are abstracted by the MMRC.
    • Excluding females less than 10 years of age or older than 55 years as well as those that do not reside in Georgia.
  • MMRC reviews each case coming to a consensus by answering the following six questions:
    • Was the death pregnancy-related?
    • What was the cause of death?
    • Was the death preventable?
    • What were the factors that contributed to this death?
    • What are the recommendations and actions that address these contributing factors?
    • What is the anticipated impact of these actions if implemented?

Melissa Kottke, MD, Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative (GaPQC)

  • GaPQC has worked to implement AIM (Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health) Safety Bundles with recommendations for hospital-based protocols and policies to improve maternal health.
  • Currently in Georgia, the hypertension AIM bundle is being implemented in 36 hospitals and the hemorrhage AIM bundles is being implemented in 44 hospitals.
  • 80% of Georgia’s birthing hospitals are implementing at least one of GaPQC’s AIM bundles


The next Maternal Mortality Study Committee meeting is October 17 from 1-3PM.

Want to get involved in HMHBGA Advocacy? Learn more here.

Other Coverage 

AJC, State House panel grapples with Georgia maternal mortality crisis.