By fall 2023, the area’s first March of Dimes Mom & Baby Mobile Health Center™ will provide services to Maricopa County and surrounding communities across the five pillars of maternal and infant care—pre-pregnancy interventions, pregnancy interventions, postpartum interventions, newborn interventions, and primary healthcare interventions. This mobile unit is the result of an $800,000 investment from UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona.
The donation comes just as the 2022 March of Dimes Report Card is released, underlining significant need:
- Only one in five Arizona women receive adequate prenatal care and timely postnatal care.
- Arizona’s preterm birth state grade dropped from a C+ to a C, with the preterm birth rate increasing to 10%, representing a 10-year high. Phoenix, the largest city in Arizona dropped from a C grade to a D+, ranking it worse than the state overall.
- Examining Arizona’s preterm birth rate by race and ethnicity illustrates significant disparities among communities of color:
- The preterm birth rate among Black women in Arizona is 46% higher than the rate among all other women.
- American Indian/Alaskan Native women are 3.5 times more likely to experience a pregnancy complication than White non-Hispanic women.
"With only about 20% of Arizona women receiving adequate prenatal care and timely postnatal care, Arizona is the perfect place to expand our Mobile Health Program and launch the first-ever Mom & Baby Mobile Health Center, ™ supporting March of Dimes’ overall effort to reduce the health equity gap and improve maternal and infant health outcomes,” said Deena Bradford, Executive Director, Market Impact Arizona at March of Dimes. “Mobile health units are a critical component to transforming traditional service delivery models and directly delivering much needed health care services to families in communities throughout central Arizona."
“We’re committed to helping pregnant women and their families receive quality, affordable health care directly in their communities with the new mobile unit,” said Jean Kalbacher, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona. “By meeting people where they live, the mobile unit is reaching patients that may otherwise delay care because they can’t get to a doctor’s office far from home.”
The mobile unit will be specifically designed to help insured, uninsured and underinsured women of childbearing age (15-44) receive pre-conception, pre-natal and post-natal community-based care. In partnership with the selected clinical partner, the unit will provide care to underserved communities throughout areas like the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and create a non-traditional environment for women and newborns to overcome barriers and access vital healthcare services.
To address whole person health, the mobile unit will be equipped to screen patients for other health care needs beyond traditional medical care. “The mobile unit staff will have a conversation with people about other needs like food, housing, and transportation then connect them to more resources if they need extra help in these areas,” said Dr. Stephen Chakmakian, Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona.
With the significant population growth Arizona has experienced over the last decade, social drivers of health such as housing, transportation, nutrition, healthcare costs and poverty levels have exponentially increased. The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is home to nearly 5 million residents and includes the city of Phoenix --- Arizona's largest city and fifth largest city in the nation – making it one of the areas with the greatest need for a Mom & Baby Mobile Health Center™
Launching in 2023, the Mom & Baby Mobile Health Center™ will be created and built from the ground up through a March of Dimes vendor and expert in the mobile unit field. The 30-foot mobile health unit will have two clinical rooms specially designed to provide women’s health services, an intake area where women and their families can check in, complete paperwork, and wait for their appointment. In addition, the unit will include a bathroom, small lab area, and a vaccine-compliant refrigeration system. The unit will also be retrofitted to include a generator, electricity for lighting and air conditioning, and telematics.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 84-year legacy, we support every pregnant person and every family. To learn more about March of Dimes, please visit marchofdimes.org.