K. Johnson, Addressing Women’s Health Needs and Improving Birth Outcomes: Results from a Peer-to-Peer State Medicaid Learning Project, The Commonwealth Fund, August 2012.
High rates of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and preterm births, as well as continuing disparities in pregnancy outcomes, have prompted a number of state Medicaid agencies to focus on improving the quality and continuity of care delivered to women of childbearing age. As part of a peer-to-peer learning project, seven Medicaid agencies worked to develop the programs, policies, and infrastructures needed to identify and reduce women’s health risks either prior to or between pregnancies. The states also identified public health strategies. These strategies led to a policy checklist to help leaders in other states identify improvement opportunities that fit within their programs’ eligibility requirements, quality improvement objectives, and health system resources. Many of the identified programs and policies may help states use the upcoming expansion of the Medicaid program to improve women’s health and thereby reduce adverse birth outcomes.