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Parkland postpartum care initiative recognized with national award

eMCAP program receives 2022 Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award
eMCAP program receives 2022 Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award

eMCAP program receives 2022 Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award

Described by an award panelist as “the blueprint of what others could do,” Parkland Health’s extending Maternal Care After Pregnancy program (eMCAP) has been recognized with the prestigious John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award in the Local Level Innovation category.

Launched in 2020 in partnership with UT Southwestern Medical Center, eMCAP fills the gap between where Medicaid coverage ends at 60 days after delivery and extends postpartum care to 12 months for women living in underserved areas of Dallas County. More than half of all maternal deaths in Texas occur in the gap between where Medicaid coverage ends and the first year postpartum.

“Receiving this award solidifies our commitment to advancing health equity, addressing the existing disparate outcomes in maternal mortality and severe morbidity that exists for Black and Latina mothers in Dallas County,” said Marjorie Quint-Bouzid, DNP, MPA, RN, NEA-BC, Parkland’s senior vice president of Women and Infant’s Specialty Health. “Eliminating barriers to access bolsters healthcare quality in that maternal deaths and severe pregnancy-related complications are avoided.”

The eMCAP program utilizes community health workers, nurse home visits, scheduled “virtual” visits, and an in-person mobile unit with medical providers, social workers, and pharmacy services deployed within the community to extend and enhance postpartum care for diabetes, hypertension, and behavioral health services.

“We have seen not only improvements in blood pressure control and follow-up up to a year after birth, but we’ve also seen improvements in the care of diabetes,” said David B. Nelson, MD, maternal medical director at Parkland and Associate Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “This has also helped facilitate mental health care services for patients in need well after the routine postpartum visit at six weeks.”

eMCAP was created in response to the 2019 Dallas County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) which identified substantial health disparities in southern Dallas County, including in maternity and postpartum care access. But lack of healthcare options after pregnancy and rising maternal mortality rates are issues that reach far beyond Dallas County. United States maternal mortality rates are the highest of any developed nation, and more than 50,000 women suffer severe maternal morbidities every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This program is a demonstration project that potentially scales to other areas to hopefully reduce maternal morbidity and mortalities in other communities,” Dr. Nelson said.

In summarizing the eMCAP program the Eisenberg Award panel reported it was “impressed with the innovation, the intention to reduce disparities for this vulnerable population by meeting patients where they are, removing barriers to care access, and specifically that the team focused on postpartum care. Parkland Health has given us the blueprint of what others could do.”

“This program demonstrates that the healthcare community needs only to start somewhere to begin to tackle the issue and simple, low-cost meaningful changes that incorporated the lived experiences of the mothers being served will make deep inroads in addressing health inequities in the postnatal space,” Quint-Bouzid added.

The Eisenberg Awards bring together the quality community to recognize groundbreaking initiatives in healthcare that are consistent with the aims of the National Quality Strategy: better care, healthy people and communities, and smarter spending. The award, presented annually by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF), recognizes major individual, local and national achievements in healthcare that improve patient safety and healthcare quality.

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002, honors the late John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA, former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). An impassioned advocate for healthcare quality improvement, Eisenberg was a member of NQF’s founding board of directors, chaired the federal government’s Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force and personally led AHRQ’s grant program to support patient safety research.

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