Joint Commission issues 2 alerts on maternal health disparities

The Joint Commission published two new alerts on Jan. 17 to reduce morbidity and mortality in pregnant and postpartum patients: a sentinel alert on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities, and a safety advisory on mental health conditions as the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. 

The sentinel alert provides recommendations for healthcare organizations to provide prenatal, perinatal and postpartum care that supports diversity, equity and inclusion. Recommendations include encouraging access to prenatal care, screening patients for risk factors during prenatal care and addressing unconscious biases through universal training.

The quick safety advisory covers a CDC report that found mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are the most frequent underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths. It also outlines a list of safety actions for healthcare organizations to consider, including the establishment of a clinical workflow to improve identification of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 

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