IHA Commends Senator Young for Tackling Maternal Mortality in Underserved Areas
The Indiana Hospital Association applauds U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) for introducing the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act, which will help identify areas where improved access to telehealth services can improve maternal outcomes. Senator Young visited Clark Memorial Health in Jeffersonville, IN, which is part of LifePoint Health, to see first-hand how telehealth programs can provide access to health care services, but roadblocks, including poor access to connectivity, continue to be a challenge in many underserved areas. Senator Young’s legislation will address this by helping to leverage available technology and connect mothers to caregivers before and after birth, giving mom and baby the best opportunity for a long and healthy life together.
Access to early prenatal care and a connection to ongoing social support programming are paramount for pregnant women and new mothers. Indiana hospitals are addressing these needs by developing creative ways to assess perinatal risks, such as preterm birth and low birth weight, which were the leading cause of infant deaths in Indiana in 2017. Outreach through strategic placement of providers in vulnerable areas is one tactic that Clark Memorial Health is using. The hospital founded “Clark Just for Women,” an OB/GYN practice created by women, for women with locations in Jeffersonville and Scottsburg. Access to healthcare education, whether in person or remotely through telehealth, is crucial for providing resources on smoking cessation, infant safe sleep, and substance use disorders, which are important components in improving infant and maternal mortality.
“We are celebrating this week’s announcement that Indiana’s infant mortality rate declined at the highest rate in six years. We appreciate the collaboration and leadership from Governor Holcomb, State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, MD and federal partners including Senator Young. Indiana hospitals are committed to continuing to work closely with our partners and I am confident we can achieve major reductions in maternal mortality, as well.” said IHA president Brian Tabor.
Dr. Box highlighted the OB navigator program that provides personal, at-home support for women living in the 20 counties with the highest infant mortality rate. The program follows pregnant women and their newborn babies for at least six to 12 months after birth. The program has launched in Allen County and is expected to go live in Clark County in February. It will be rolled out in all 20 counties by the end of 2020. “The OB Navigator program is an innovative approach in that it provides women who are covered by Medicaid and in high-risk areas with wraparound family support services right in their homes. I believe it will be a key step for us in reducing infant and maternal mortality,” she said.
Brian Tabor - President
Indiana Hospital Association