The 66th Annual Meeting opened Friday morning with the Opening Ceremonies and an address by President Haywood L. Brown, MD, FACOG. He talked about several ACOG initiatives from the past year.
“The right to health is a human right, and the health of a nation is determined by the health of its girls and women,” he said to applause.
During his speech, Dr. Brown discussed advances made in his stated presidential initiatives, including the Postpartum Task Force, telemedicine and telehealth, and pregnancy and long-term health. He noted that many sessions at this year’s meeting would touch on these topics.
With the attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Dr. Brown’s tenure involved a lot of advocacy—”a lot more than I planned, believe me,” he said. A joint effort with presidents from pediatric, family medicine, psychology, and osteopathic associations along with the American College of Physicians where the leaders visited Washington, D.C., emphasized to lawmakers about how repealing ACA would hurt rural areas. Dr. Brown said that they emphasized rural America because the proposed ACA replacement would have jeopardized the health care of not only women and children but almost all residents while also leading to hundreds of level 1 hospital closures.
“When we walk into an office in a bipartisan way and say we represent 550,000 physicians and millions of patients, it matters for us to be there together,” he said.
Dr. Brown also detailed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, introduced in the House of Representatives, which would authorize the CDC to help states create or expand Maternal Mortality Review Committees. It would create mechanisms for data collection on causes of maternal mortality, assist states in preventing pregnancy deaths and reduce care disparities between groups, report maternal mortality data to Congress to track successes and setbacks, and order the Department of Health and Human Services to research disparities in maternal outcomes. African-Americans have three to four times the risk of maternal death as white Americans, Dr. Brown said, and Native Americans—”the forgotten population,” he said—have the second-highest death rate.
To watch Dr. Brown and hear his opening remarks at any time on demand, tune into Streaming Colloquia on annualmeeting.acog.org and select Opening Ceremonies.