HHS Announces Over $65 Million to Address the Maternal Health Crisis and Invest in New Approaches to Care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $65 million to 35 HRSA-funded health centers to address the maternal mortality crisis. Our country’s maternal mortality rate is the highest of any developed nation in the world and more than double the rate of peer countries. HRSA’s funds will be used to implement innovative approaches to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce disparities for patients at highest risk. Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than White women. Today’s announcement supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Blueprint – PDF, a whole-of-government strategy aimed at improving maternal health, particularly in underserved communities.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is taking significant steps to address our country’s maternal health crisis,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This support for HRSA-funded health centers will help ensure healthier pregnancy and postpartum outcomes for all and help address health disparities among women of color and women in rural and medically underserved areas.”
“We need bold solutions that recognize and respond to the unacceptable disparities in maternal health outcomes in this country,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Through this new funding, health centers will be able to tailor their response to the needs of their patients and communities and take action to save lives.”
Health centers are local organizations that provide comprehensive, high-quality primary health care services tailored to their communities regardless of their patients’ ability to pay. HRSA’s Health Center Program is a cornerstone of our country’s health care system, especially for individuals and families who are uninsured; enrolled in Medicaid; living in rural, remote, or underserved areas; struggling to afford their health insurance co-pays; experiencing homelessness; residing in public housing; or otherwise having difficulty finding a doctor or paying for the cost of care. Today, the approximately 1,400 HRSA-funded health centers operate nearly 15,000 service sites.
HRSA-funded health centers provide essential prenatal care to nearly 550,000 people a year in communities at higher risk of pregnancy-related deaths and health center providers deliver more than 160,000 babies annually. Health centers will use today’s funding to develop patient-centered models of care delivery that address the clinical and health-related social needs of their patients at highest risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. Innovative approaches that will be supported by this funding include offering bilingual doula services, leveraging health technology to reach rural patients, and providing culturally aware mental and behavioral health care for pregnant women and their families.
Today’s funding supporting maternal health care through health centers is part of HRSA’s comprehensive work to support maternal health and reduce disparities in maternal and birth outcomes, which includes support not only to health centers but also to other HRSA-supported programs carried out by states, community-based organizations, and training programs, such as:
- HRSA-supported Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health Patient Safety Bundles that are setting the standard for improving maternal care processes and patient outcomes in hospitals and other delivery settings across the country;
- HRSA’s Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Program that is building networks in rural communities to strengthen pre-natal, delivery and post-pregnancy support services;
- HRSA-funded State Maternal Health Innovation Programs that are directly supporting states to address the disparities in maternal health outcomes by building state coalitions of diverse stakeholders to inform state action, improving the collection and use of maternal health data, and launching new service delivery activities such as the use of mobile vans in remote regions and creating a course for how to treat mothers with substance use disorder respectfully and effectively;
- HRSA’s Maternal Health Workforce Programs that are training new certified nurse midwives, training more community-based doulas, providing loan repayment incentives for nurses to practice in high-need communities, and building and deploying metrics identifying the areas with the greatest maternal health workforce needs;
- HRSA’s Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA that offers direct, confidential emotional and mental health support to pregnant women and new parents 24/7 in English and Spanish provided by trained counselors; and
- HRSA’s Screening and Treatment for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Program that is providing training for OB/GYNs, Certified Nurse Midwives and other maternal care providers to support the mental health needs of their patients and providing tele-consultation options to get real-time support from mental health experts in managing their cases.
For a detailed breakdown of today’s Health Center Program awards, visit https://bphc.hrsa.gov/funding/funding-opportunities/quality-improvement-fund-maternal-health/fy2023-awards.
To locate a HRSA-supported health center, visit: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.