A recently completed maternal health pilot connected more than 130 women in Cumberland County with prenatal care. Inspira’s Community Impact and Maternal Health teams partnered with the Camden Coalition and CompleteCare Health Network to pilot this program with the aim of increasing access to prenatal care for underserved residents of South Jersey.
“We discovered many people found out they were pregnant during a visit to the emergency department—and women were coming to the hospital to deliver their babies with little to no prenatal care,” said Megan Allain, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., director of Community Impact at Inspira. “We identified the opportunity to track the population coming through the ER as a starting point to help initiate prenatal care.”
The need to connect people to prenatal care is widespread and close to home; New Jersey has the fourth-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation. And according to the 2016-2018 Maternal Mortality Review Committee, the maternal mortality ratio in South Jersey was approximately twice that of the state as a whole. The pregnancy-related mortality ratio is 6.6 times higher for Black residents of N.J. than their white counterparts.
The maternal health pilot established a workflow to use emergency department encounters at Inspira Medical Center Vineland and Inspira Health Center Bridgeton to identify patients who tested positive for pregnancy. Through a compliant data-sharing arrangement, this information was shared with the Camden Coalition, whose team called the pregnant people to discuss the importance of prenatal care and to connect them to a provider if they didn’t have one.
“Providing navigation assistance is a huge benefit to patients,” said Allain. “In addition to helping patients navigate prenatal care, we were able to set up a direct line to CompleteCare, a federally qualified health center in Cumberland County, so patients could schedule appointments sooner.”
From May 2022 to June 2023, the team reached out to 559 patients, spoke to 311 and supported 134 people with connections to a prenatal care provider or help overcoming barriers to care. The initiative resulted in 43 percent of patients getting connected to care; the goal for similar population health initiatives is often a 30 percent conversion rate.
The program also had funds designated to help mitigate barriers to prenatal care. For example, the team offered transportation for those who could not get a ride or gift cards for babysitting to help with childcare needs.
“Programs like the maternal health pilot have the opportunity to create a trickle-down effect for providers, where they start seeing patients earlier to help improve health outcomes,” said Allain.
This model could have various applications across the spectrum of care for underserved populations using nurse navigators, practice coordinators and more, where staff provide a warm handoff to help with navigation assistance.
If you have questions about the maternal health pilot program or want more information about Inspira’s Community Impact and Maternal Health programs, contact April Venable at VenableA@ihn.org.