Washington, DC—Today, the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) received a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant allotting $2 million a year for five years to continue to expand national efforts to reduce preventable maternal deaths and near deaths caused by severe complications from childbirth.
The funding will allow more hospitals across the country to adopt maternal safety practices or “bundles,” to learn how to effectively respond to common pregnancy-related conditions, such as hemorrhage and hypertension, to reverse the alarming increases in the U.S. maternal mortality rate over the past two decades.
“We’ve had an excellent partner in HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau since the inception of the AIM program four years ago,” said Barbara Levy, M.D., ACOG vice president of Health Policy. “During that time, we’ve seen tremendous growth and increased enthusiasm to implement the maternal safety bundles on the part of hospitals and providers. We were very concerned about how we were going to keep up with demand but with this additional funding we will now be able to expand the number of AIM states from 18 to 35.”
AIM was initially awarded $4 million over four years by HRSA in 2014 to pilot the program in eight states, with Oklahoma--the state with the second highest maternal mortality rate at the time—being the first to sign on. AIM is an alliance of multiple provider, public health and advocacy groups that function as a team to develop and implement the bundles.
Currently, there are 18 states and 985 hospitals as part of the AIM program. The initiative relies on state teams comprised of state health departments, health associations, perinatal collaboratives, provider groups, and hospitals to work together to implement consistent maternity care practices and gather and report data on outcomes and process measures.
In January 2018, AIM announced that there were promising improvements in maternal morbidity rates evident in the first round of outcomes data. Four AIM states that implemented the hemorrhage and hypertension bundles in 2015 showed a decrease in the maternal morbidity rate, ranging from 8.3 to 22.1 percent, bringing the average overall rate of severe maternal morbidity to under two percent.
“Part of what this funding will allow us to do is enroll more states in AIM and that will foster greater collaboration and give hospitals more opportunities to learn from best practices,” said Levy. “It will also allow us to collect more robust data. The greatest benefit the program offers to hospitals is the ability to gauge their progress and compare their outcomes with similar facilities in order to figure out what is working and what isn’t.”
There are nine maternal safety bundles, including “Obstetric Care for Women with Opioid Use Disorder,” released in August 2017, and “Reduction of Peripartum Racial/Ethnic Disparities.” While hemorrhage and hypertension are the leading remediable causes of maternal mortality, these bundles help address other existing and emerging issues in maternal health that have contributed to increases in maternal mortality rates.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org