UAMS has received a $1.2 million grant to help establish a statewide collaborative to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies throughout Arkansas.
The collaborative will work with the state Department of Health to improve maternal and infant health outcomes by identifying health care processes that need to be improved, UAMS said in a news release. The collaborative will use the best available methods to make changes as quickly as possible.
The five-year grant comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Reproductive Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC distributed $8.2 million altogether to help 27 statewide collaboratives, including the one under development in Arkansas, as well as the national network that supports them.
Participating in the collaborative will give hospitals the opportunity to earn the proposed "Birthing Friendly Hospital" designation under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS has proposed the designation to help patients choose hospitals that have demonstrated a commitment to maternal health through implementation of best practices.
Arkansas ranks as one of the worst states in America for maternal health. In the CDC’s 2018 comparison of 26 states with available data, Arkansas had the highest maternal mortality ratio, according to the release.
Other initiatives are underway to improve maternal health care in the state. CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs last week received a $4 million federal grant supporting its "Healthy Mom, Thriving Baby" project, which aims to establish a network of rural health care partners to coordinate pregnancy services from pre-conception through postpartum care.
That network, called AR MOMS, aims to decrease high-risk pregnancy rates in 11 counties in southwest Arkansas.