PA PQC Regional Meetings Convene Healthcare Teams and Community Organizations to Strengthen Network of Support for Birthing People

Participants discuss regional needs during a recent regional meeting.

 A new format of the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative this year is regional meetings, which are being held throughout the year to convene hospital-based healthcare teams with community-based organizations and agencies to share knowledge and strengthen care connections.

The PA PQC theme for this implementation period, from April 2023 through March 2024, is "connecting across the continuum of care," with the regional meetings being facilitated to connect Healthcare Teams, which are primarily hospital-based and made up of mostly inpatient staff, with outside organizations and agencies in their regions and neighboring birthing sites.

Two regional meetings have been held, in the southwest region on May 18 and the northwest region on June 22. The July 26 meeting was held for the Northeast region. A meeting is scheduled for the southeast region August 17 and in the Lehigh/Capital region for Sept. 21.

The two-hour sessions include a summary of regional needs related to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) by Jewish Healthcare Foundation Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson, MPH followed by healthcare teams from birthing sites in the region sharing out briefly about their current quality improvement goals.

The session in southwestern Pennsylvania on May 18 included two spotlights of birthing hospital and community partnerships: one focused on doula awareness and engagement with a panel discussion by Shawndel Laughner, MHA, BSN, Director, Women and Children's Services, St. Clair Hospital and Selena Eisenberg, Primary Midwife and Founder of Igi Osè, CLD, CAPPA Faculty, and CEO of The Pittsburgh Birth Project. The second Lisa Pareso, MSHSA, Manager, Rural Health Model, Washington Health System discussed the formation of their monthly multi-stakeholder meetings with community partners. The session in northwestern Pennsylvania on June 22 focused on the collaboration between Saint Vincent Hospital and Gaudenzia, a Center of Excellence, allowing Mom/Baby Dyad to stay together during treatment for substance use disorder. Lisa Herrmann Bradley, Program Director, Gaudenzia and Erika Pluta, MSW, Social Worker, Saint Vincent Hospital, AHN were presenters.

The most recent session held July 26 included speakers: Geri Buckwalter, BS, M.Ed., RN, Care Manager, Women's Health Center of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC); Meagan Oliveras, LSW, Social Worker, Wayne Memorial Hospital; Cynthia Matthews, Director of Developmental Programs and Early Intervention, Wayne County Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention; and Maria Kolcharno, MSW, LSW, Director of Addiction Services and leader of Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS), The Wright Center.

Sessions hold space for open discussion to allow birth sites, organizations, and agencies to create meaningful connections and learn from one another.

"Our hope is that these regional sessions will serve as the foundation for future learning sessions so that we might offer regional breakouts in more specific topic areas and the healthcare team members, organizations, and stakeholders will already have a familiarity with one another and be more open to collaborating in the future," said PA PQC and Pittsburgh: A Safer Childbirth City project manager Sara Nelis, RN.

Materials from the past sessions, including the recordings can be found here
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