National Leaders Explore Reforms, Innovations to Improve Maternal and Child Health

In response to our nation's troubling maternal and child health outcomes, JHF and its supporting organizations are working to re-imagine and redesign the birth experience—from care delivery improvements to payment reform, and from consumer advocacy to policy change. In December, JHF participated in two important conferences at the Kaiser Center for Total Health in Washington D.C., that sought to align partners around creating a higher standard of care for mothers and babies. 

On December 12, Karen Feinstein welcomes attendees to a NEHI and JHF-organized summit on improving maternal and infant health through federal and state-level policy change.

On December 11, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) and Merck for Mothers held a conference to explore novel payment models for maternal and infant care. The meeting brought together a broad group of stakeholders, including health plans, Medicaid managed care organizations, large self-insured employers, hospitals, clinicians and other providers, federal and state agency representatives, maternal and infant health advocacy groups, and academics.

Convening participants included a number of organizations that are already employing versions of maternity quality, safety, and payment bundles. Bundled payments models hold the potential to redefine pre-and-post-natal care by wrapping services around the mother and incorporating midwives, doulas, and mental health professionals as part of a true team-based approach.

NEHI President and CEO Susan Dentzer leads a discussion on existing maternal and child health policies, and new approaches that could dramatically improve health outcomes.

Through its Reinvesting in Health initiative, PRHI is testing new bundled payment models, promoting Choosing Wisely guidelines, and engaging employers and payers so that they demand value. The goal is to redesign the care delivery experience and reimbursement system to remove unnecessary services, and reinvest in services that matter. Perinatal care is the current focus area for the Reinvesting in Health initiative.

On December 12, NEHI hosted a national maternity care summit to identify policy levers and opportunities at the federal and state levers for improving the quality, safety and outcomes of maternal and infant care. JHF provided a grant to NEHI for the summit.

During the event, participants explored strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and infant health; expand state and federal funding of needed research; and increase access to high-quality, comprehensive, and cost-effective maternal and infant care through bundled payment approaches and other innovations in reimbursement and practice.

NEHI will work to develop a list of policy priorities that will be presented to key agencies and policymakers. The NEHI summit will advance some of the key practice and policy recommendations that emerged from JHF and WHAMglobal's Maternal Health Leaders Symposium. The summit will also advance the Foundation's efforts to create a statewide perinatal quality collaborative.

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