The criteria Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) use to select the cases to abstract and review should be documented in the committee’s policies and procedures and consistently followed.
The criteria for selecting cases for abstraction and review are also referred to as the ‘scope’ of the review. Here is an example of an ideal, broad scope of an MMRC: “The scope of cases for committee review is all pregnancy-associated deaths or any deaths of women with an indication of pregnancy up to 365 days, regardless of cause (i.e., motor vehicle crashes, suicide, homicide).”
To determine which cases are within scope, the Chair, Coordinator, Abstractor, along with a “small committee” (a subset of the full MMRC that is reflective of the multidisciplinary composition) conducts a preliminary evaluation of pregnancy-associated deaths identified through the case identification process. The individual or team may need to follow up with the Office of Vital Records to confirm pregnancy if there is suspicion of an error on the death certificate. It is essential that MMRCs maintain clear documentation of any cases identified through the case identification process that were not sent for abstraction or review.