Advocacy and Health Policy |

First National Multi-state Collaborative Launched on Treating Maternal Opioid Use Disorder

Washington, DC—The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) today launched the first national multi-state collaborative to develop strategies for scalable programs to provide care and treatment for maternal opioid use disorder, which has surpassed hemorrhage and hypertension as the leading cause of maternal mortality in many states across the country.


As part of ACOG’s Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) program, representatives from 14 states—Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia—will officially kick off the collaborative with an all-day meeting at ACOG’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“The collaborative will expand treatment options for women with opioid and substance use disorder by developing sustainable systems approaches that can be adopted by health departments, hospitals and health systems in every state,” said Barbara Levy, M.D., ACOG vice president of Health Policy. “While there has been a great deal of focus on treating infants diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, we have to remember that the care and treatment of the mother is equally important, not only during pregnancy but also postpartum. This effort addresses that by taking a holistic approach to treating opioid addiction because the bottom line is that babies don’t do well without their mothers.”

AIM, funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration until 2018, is a national data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative that aims to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity through the development of consistent maternity care practices or “maternal safety bundles” for common pregnancy-related conditions, such as preeclampsia.

As a guide, the collaborative will use Obstetric Care of Women with Opioid Use Disorder, the latest bundle released by the AIM program. The bundle provides an outline of evidence-based practices for prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care. Additionally, participants of the collaborative will draw on their own experiences with local maternal substance use programs, guidance development, funding issues and relationships with courts and child welfare services to establish an implementation plan for larger statewide programs.

In alignment with this effort, ACOG District II today released a white paper with actionable strategies to manage opioid use disorder in pregnancy as a result of a statewide summit held earlier this year. Recommendations identified within the white paper, including creating better engagement and communication among providers within the continuum of care and across service areas, will be used to inform educational materials for women’s health care providers in the state, as well as the work of the collaborative.

Other national ACOG efforts currently underway include legislation to increase evidence-based, locally-relevant public health improvements through the establishment and expansion of state maternal mortality review committees, which are multidisciplinary groups comprised of local health experts that study cases of maternal deaths. In March, The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, and later a companion bill was proposed in the U.S. Senate, to provide funding to help bolster mortality review efforts and promote national information sharing through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, 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, The College 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. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.