Montana Receives $10 Million To Improve Maternal Health
Montana has been awarded a $10 million federal grant to improve the health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women in rural Montana.
Montana Obstetric and Maternal Support is designed to improve some very dire Montana statistics.
"We have the sixth highest maternal mortality rate in the nation and for me that has to improve," says Sheila Hogan, director of the state's Department of Health and Human Services.
MOMS is funded by a federal grant worth $10 million for five years. It will provide training and assistance for rural clinic providers treating high risk pregnant and postpartum patients. The training and assistance would come through telehealth programs already in place, like Billings Clinic’s Project ECHO and the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network that provide access to OB/GYN specialists, as well as ones developed to provide more immediate consultation.
The grant will help fund a Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to review select cases and give recommendations on preventative measures.
The MOMS program is also developing Simulation in Motion lab trucks that will travel to rural hospitals and clinics to provide hands on state-of-the-art skills training.
The program will purchase Apple iPads and other electronics needed for direct electronic connections and consultations. It will also plans to apply for FCC funding to improve rural broadband and internet access.
The University of Montana has already drafted an evaluation plan to collect and analyze the data and suggest changes to the program.
"Our goal is to set up a sustainable system that will support these women on-going," Hogan said.
MOMS is expected to launch early next year.