Empower Birthing People
We aim to educate and empower birthing people in their care journey by providing social supports and leveraging evidence-based interventions to help educate and uplift the voices of birthing people.
For example, our Healthy First Steps (HFS) program provides care management services to high-risk moms who may need extra support and services. Our local care teams seek to engage and empower moms by providing education; supporting them in their care plan; removing barriers to prenatal and postpartum care; and linking them to resources to support healthy pregnancies, deliveries, and early childhood and family planning. Additionally, given the evidence around group prenatal care and its potential to reduce racial inequities, we have supported the development and launch of in-person group prenatal care models and are currently piloting a virtual group prenatal education model to educate and empower our members throughout their care journey.
Given deficiencies in care during both prenatal care and hospital delivery have been linked to inequities in maternal and infant outcomes, we also partner with providers to evolve the health system and drive more equitable outcomes. This includes investing in multiple approaches to improve the consistency and quality of care that is delivered to Medicaid members.
For example, we provided $2.85M to the March of Dimes to fund hospital quality improvement initiatives as part of a public-private partnership to address Black maternal health. In addition to the partnership, we are testing remote patient monitoring (RPM) to understand how digital technology can impact the ability for providers to engage patients and monitor conditions such as chronic hypertension, which disproportionately impacts people of color. We are also testing several alternative payment models to drive greater provider accountability for health outcomes and are deploying provider trainings to increase provider understanding of the role of implicit bias on maternal outcomes.
We know that unmet social and safety needs can contribute to poor outcomes. Community-based organizations (CBOs) often provide critical services and supports to our moms and their families. We aim to expand community capacity to support the complex social needs of our Medicaid population by partnering with CBOs and other vendors serving our member needs.
We’ve provided over $1M in grants to CBOs serving the needs of birthing people and families. For example, in Mississippi we invested $40,000 in the Delta Health Alliance and their work in supplying baby items and creating a women’s advisory council. In Ohio,we provided a $28,000 grant to Black Lactation Circle, serving greater Columbus to expand breastfeeding support programs and provide resources to address social determinants of health. In Tennessee, we invested $75,000 in SisterReach to support housing, food, clothing, domestic violence prevention, utility assistance and doula services.
Our experience has shown that no single innovation can address the complexity of racial inequities in maternal and infant outcomes. However, we believe the collective impact from a multi-faceted, evidence-informed approach with intentional collaboration with our members, providers, and community and state partners will help improve maternal and infant morbidity and mortality and reduce racial inequities. We will continue to learn, partner and assess our efforts with the goal to reduce racial inequities in maternal and infant outcomes in the U.S.