WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than half of rural Minnesota counties lack hospital-based birthing services.

The Rural MOMS Act was co-sponsored by Senator Tina Smith and has now been signed into law. Smith says the legislation will provide grants to connect patients to needed care, expand telehealth and provide training for clinicians to practice in rural community-based settings:

This has really driven home to me when I heard from women in Minnesota that were driving 100 miles each way to get to their doctors and what a challenge that faced them. And in some ways limiting their choices of where they could even choose to live if they wanted to have a family.

Senator Smith also says

A lot of the challenges that moms face are not actually during delivery but the challenges they face before delivery or after postpartum and getting access to good care on both sides of delivering a baby is really important too.

With shortages of health care providers and a challenging payer mix, rural hospitals are more likely to close their labor and delivery units in order to make ends meet.

This story is courtesy of the Minnesota News Network.  

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