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PRESS RELEASE - Florida Hospital Association Issues Statewide Call to Action to Reduce Maternal Mortality


Initiative first to focus on reducing deaths from drug overdoses


Tallahassee, FL – Given the rise in maternal deaths, the Florida Hospital Association is issuing a Call to Action to increase awareness of the issues and steps hospitals can take to address the maternal mortality public health crisis.  

 In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2021 report on Maternal Mortality Rates in the U.S., which showed that the number of women who died during pregnancy or shortly after has risen 40%. The report found that the national maternal mortality rate for 2021 was 33 deaths per 100,000 live births, the highest seen since 1965. The rate in Florida is slightly higher, at 39 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

 Florida’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which analyzes maternal deaths in Florida, reports that the state’s pregnancy-related mortality rate has increased every year since 2016. Recently, they identified drug overdoses as a major contributor to deaths in women before and soon after giving birth. More women die from drug-related deaths in Florida than all maternal complications combined.

 “For years, Florida’s hospitals have been on the frontlines of caring for pregnant women and investing in education, process improvement, and best practices implementation to reduce preventable maternal deaths,” said Mary Mayhew, President, and CEO, Florida Hospital Association. “Today, with drug overdoses as a significant cause of maternal deaths, hospitals again are leading partners in the important work to prevent overdoses and ensure access to appropriate interventions and treatment.”

 As part of the initiative, FHA will provide educational resources, best practices, ongoing training, and sharing best practices already in place around the state. 

While the focus will be on all causes of maternal death, the initial focus will be preventing overdose deaths and training emergency departments to recognize possible signs and symptoms for all causes of maternal death. Throughout the next 12 months, FHA will be working with hospitals on various strategies, such as: 

  • Training hospital EDs on signs and symptoms to prevent maternal deaths
  • Implementing the evidence-based Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model for all pregnant women
  • Providing Naloxone kits before discharge for pregnant women screening positive for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)
  • Implementing strategies from the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative (FPQC) Opioid Recovery Effort (MORE) and their other initiatives focused on maternal health
  • Developing plans of safe care, including referrals to Healthy Start and Early Steps at the Florida Department of Health
  • Strategies to address other causes of maternal deaths

“One maternal death is one too many. That is why the FHA Board of Trustees issued this Call to Action,” said R.D. Williams, CEO of Hendry Regional Medical Center, and Chair of the FHA Quality and Patient Safety Committee. “Florida hospitals have a legacy of leadership on a number of public health issues, and reducing preventable maternal deaths is no exception.”

FHA is partnering with the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families to provide the latest strategies, support, and data to address the Maternal Mortality Crisis in Florida.


Founded in 1927, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) is the leading voice for health care in the State of Florida. Through representation and advocacy, education, and informational services, the Florida Hospital Association supports the mission of over 200 hospitals and health care systems to provide the highest quality of care to the patients we serve. Led by President and CEO Mary Mayhew, the Florida Hospital Association is located in Tallahassee and is governed by a Board of Trustees and officers elected by the member institutions.


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