JHF Grants Allegheny Health Network $75,000 Grant to Reinvest in Quality Maternal Care Model

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) granted Allegheny Health Network (AHN) $75,000 to launch a plan to re-design a value-based care model for women and infants. This model includes incorporating social workers into AHN maternity care to improve patient outcomes and reduce high-risk complications during pregnancy.

While early and regular prenatal care helps many women have healthy pregnancies and deliveries, approximately 8 percent of all pregnancies involve complications that include gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), placental complications, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, depression, opioid use disorder (OUD), and more. Expecting and new mothers also frequently experience complications of depression. According to the CDC, rates of birthing women with a depression diagnosis increased sevenfold from 2000 to 2015, and postpartum depression affects 1 in 8 women in the United States. Research has also shown that the effects of maternal depression can negatively impact a child's growth and development.

JHF Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson said, "It has been a privilege to work with Highmark Health, Highmark Inc, and Allegheny Health Network to simultaneously redesign maternity care delivery and payment models to improve outcomes related to substance misuse, mental health, cardiovascular conditions, and social determinants of health. The payers and providers came together to make these changes, and we are pleased to provide a grant to support the role of social worker on the maternity care team to provide comprehensive assessments and wrap around supports."

AHN recognizes the need to integrate a comprehensive maternal health treatment plan that includes not only improved screening processes to identify complications at the onset, but also a comprehensive care team that will now incorporate mental health into overall general health care by improving the identification of and management of those patients also at high risk for mental disorder resulting from pregnancy and childbirth.

"This initiative aims to remove redundant services and reinvest in services critical to pregnant and postpartum women and newborns," says Dr. Marcia Klein-Patel, PHD, Chair, AHN Women's Institute. "The generous funding from JHF will allow us to recreate a strategy that includes improved screenings, better identification of high-risk patients and incorporating a focus on mental health to provide total quality care from the bottom up for new mothers and newborns."

To learn more about AHN's commitment to improving outcomes for women and newborns, visit their website and read their press release here. 

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