Virginia Medicaid is taking efforts to end the racial disparity in maternal mortality by reducing the number of black women who die in childbirth or birth-related complications.
The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), which runs Medicaid, launched a new outreach program, technology upgrades and made other efforts to improve healthcare for pregnant women on Medicaid, according to the Associated Press. This includes eliminating delays and more treatment for pregnant women with substance abuse disorders.
This move is part of a larger goal by Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia General Assembly to put an end to the racial disparity by 2025. Currently, black women are twice as likely to die in childbirth than white women in the commonwealth.
Last month, Northam signed legislation that created a Maternal Mortality Review Team and legislation that requires providers inform expecting mothers about perinatal anxiety.
“I am proud we are making a bold commitment to improving maternal health in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, M.D said in a news release at the time. “I look forward to collaboration across a variety of sectors to ensure that women in Virginia have access to high quality care and services before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Northam also directed DMAS to speed up the process of getting eligible pregnant women on Medicaid and his administration is entering into an agreement with 10 hospitals and their ambulance providers on training, education and best practices. The Department of Health will work with hospitals on data collection, onboarding, coaching, and technical assistance.