What They’re Watching: Patty Hayes, RN, MN

Patty Hayes, RN, MN, is the Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County, the 9th largest local health department by population in the country. Hayes has over 30 years of experience in public health, policy development, and advocacy. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss three actions that are critically important to improving maternity care in Washington State.



“We have a major problem with maternity care, prenatal care, and post-birth care in this country and in Washington State in that we must address it from the perspective of where the woman and the family is coming from. We can change all of the policies we want, but if we’re not grounded in equity and social justice and really looking at what the needs of the woman are, we’re going to continue to have the number of maternal deaths we have.

I think that there are three things that I’ll mention that I think are critically important. First is universal home visiting. We’re one of the few industrialized countries that doesn’t provide universal home visiting to a mom after birth. That’s just crazy. Every family around would enjoy the checkup and what can happen with that. The second thing is, the current status of our Maternity Support Services and Infant Case Management program from the Health Care Authority is underfunded and underutilized. And thirdly, we are not offering culturally appropriate offerings to families and meeting them where they need.”