In support of a groundbreaking partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make the U.S. one of the safest nations in the world for women to give birth, March of Dimes, the leading organization fighting for the health of all moms and babies, today announced it has received funding from UnitedHealthcare. The funds will be used to implement a program to reduce disparities and improve maternal health outcomes in high-needs states.
The $2.85 million from the nation’s largest health insurer – the first significant investment toward this effort to March of Dimes – will fund quality improvement work in hospitals where severe maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as disparities in outcomes, are challenges.
Black women in the U.S. are at least three times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications compared to White women, with no association between their race and education or income levels. Narrowing the statistical gap in poor maternal health outcomes between Black and White mothers is a priority for March of Dimes and UnitedHealthcare.
“The Black maternal health crisis is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach. We can only make a measurable impact by working together,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “As the first major investor in this critical work, UnitedHealthcare is ensuring that we don’t have to wait a second longer to save the lives of mothers in underserved communities.”
March of Dimes will collaborate with multiple stakeholders – from health care providers and experts on Black maternal health to patients and advocacy groups – to make the U.S. one of the safest nations in the world for women to give birth, regardless of race, ethnicity or geography.
“The disparities in maternal outcomes are unacceptable. UnitedHealthcare sees great opportunity to accelerate action on evidence-based practices that have been shown to be promising in standardizing and improving care,” said Dr. Stephen Cha, Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “None of us can do this alone—and so by working together as a broader health-system community, we can move the needle on the maternal health crisis and make positive change for our members and all women.”
On December 3, HHS released the Maternal Health Action Plan to reduce maternal deaths and disparities that put women at risk prior to, during and following pregnancy. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome A. Adams issued a Call to Action and the Department announced a new public-private partnership with March of Dimes to specifically address and reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity. Through the public-private partnership with March of Dimes, HHS plans to implement this initiative in at least 100 hospitals over five years.
“Eliminating preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, reducing the number of cesarean births that are not medically needed or wanted, and ensuring that every hospital in the pilot program meets The Joint Commission’s Perinatal Safety Standards are key targets for this quality improvement initiative,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Chief Medical and Health Officer, Senior Vice President, and Interim Chief Scientific Officer at March of Dimes. “Every woman deserves safe, high-quality care. We’re looking forward to working with UnitedHealthcare and HHS to ensure they get it.”
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.