Maternal death reporting is now mandatory across Michigan

Each year, as many as 100 Michigan mothers die during or within one year of their pregnancy. In an effort to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Michigan, reporting of maternal deaths is now mandatory, effective April 6, 2017 through the Michigan Maternal Mortality Surveillance (MMMS) project within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

As a public health authority, MDHHS investigates maternal deaths to better understand the underlying factors associated with these deaths and to develop policy recommendations that can help improve the maternal mortality rate.

Public Act 479 of 2016 was signed into law on January 5, 2017 making maternal death reporting a mandatory process in an effort to capture all maternal deaths that occur in our state. The new law states that a physician or an individual in charge of a health facility who is present for or is aware of a maternal death shall submit information regarding that death at the time and in the manner specified or approved by the department for inclusion in the health information system.

Over the past several decades, the MMMS project has investigated all maternal deaths that occur in Michigan on an annual basis. However, prior to this legislation, participation was voluntary.

The participation of physicians and health facilities is vital for public health surveillance and helps promote and protect the health and well-being of women, infants, and families in Michigan.

Additional information on maternal death reporting, including instructions and forms, can be found on the MDHHS Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology website at

For more information about this new mandatory maternal death reporting process, please contact Chris Fussman, M.S., Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Section Manager, by email at: or by telephone: 517-335-9456.