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PA PQC Announces Awards and Advances Maternal Health Quality Improvement

The Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC) awarded $75,000 across 5 PA PQC birth hospitals and NICUs in recognition of the quality improvement milestones they completed to improve care for pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder (OUD) and newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The PA PQC also awarded $45,000 across 5 PA PQC birth hospitals to increase access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) during the immediate postpartum period. These five hospitals will join the initial group of PA PQC birth hospitals—UPMC Horizon, SLUHN Anderson and Allentown, and Geisinger Medical Center—who have been implementing the infrastructure to provide access to immediate postpartum LARC. 

In September, Pennsylvania also became an AIM State. The PA Department of Health and the PA PQC submitted the application, with a focus on adopting AIM's Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy Bundle and reducing racial disparities. The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) is a national data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative that is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and operated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). AIM provides implementation support and data tracking assistance to participating states to support the adoption of AIM's patient safety bundles. AIM also enables states to track their success on improving maternal outcomes through AIM's national data center. Pennsylvania has created the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) and the PA PQC. Becoming an AIM state is a third structural milestone that states put in place to address maternal mortality and morbidity.

On September 3, the PA PQC held a quarterly learning session via Zoom with over 200 attendees. During the session, the PA PQC Moving on Maternal Depression (MOMD) co-chairs, Saleemah McNeil and Chaunda Cunningham, announced the kickoff of the MOMD initiative through the PA PQC. PA PQC teams will adopt the MOMD Change Package starting in October, which the Task Force finalized during a Task Force Call on 9/30. During the 9/3 Learning Session, the PA PQC teams also learned how to implement maternal depression screening and follow-up processes into their daily work, address challenges to offering immediate postpartum LARC, improve screening processes for maternal SUD/OUD and NAS, and use quality improvement principles related to root causes analyses and standard work principles.

To increase access to effective treatment for maternal OUD, the PA PQC hosted two waiver trainings with ACOG and the American Society of Addiction Medicine on how to prescribe buprenorphine, a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for OUD. The PA PQC also held a third implicit bias training with AccessMatters for PA PQC teams on September 15.

The PA PQC looks forward to working with birth hospitals, NICUs, prenatal/postpartum offices, and health plans to improve care for maternal OUD, NAS, maternal depression, and severe hypertension in pregnancy, while focusing on reducing racial disparities across these areas.  

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