Rep. Elaine Davis proposes to improve access to prenatal care in rural communities

The House on Tuesday advanced a bill that will improve access to prenatal care for expectant mothers who live in rural areas.

House Bill 2461, sponsored by State Rep. Elaine Davis, R-Knoxville, will give expectant mothers who have transportation barriers to care access to remote ultrasound and fetal nonstress tests in residences and other off-site locations.

“Countless expectant women go without care either because they don’t live near a care facility or because they don’t have access to transportation,” Davis said. “Women and unborn children deserve and require proper treatment during such an important period. This legislation provides more opportunity and access to quality health care to ensure mom and baby remain safe and healthy throughout a pregnancy.”

The approved fetal nonstress tests and remote ultrasounds will collect health data and securely transmit that data to a separate location for analysis.

Roughly 33% of counties in the United States are classified as “maternity care deserts” by March of Dimes, meaning they have no hospitals or birth centers with obstetric care.

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