For more than a year, we have worked with many of our Quality Institute members and community partners from around New Jersey to create the Maternity Action Plan (MAP), which we just released. The MAP outlines a path forward to turn the vision of Nurture NJ into reality. The goal is to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place to deliver and raise a baby.
The MAP builds sustainable policy change, and addresses racial inequities through specific, actionable steps. I believe the MAP will be essential to all our members — from insurers and providers to community leaders and health systems.
I urge you all to read and share the MAP. We also want mayors, elected officials, and government leaders to read the recommendations. Tremendous progress has already occurred through Nurture NJ, and the MAP aims to build on those accomplishments and accelerate the pace of change. The four key areas of focus are:
- Expand and diversify the perinatal workforce.
- Advance datacollection and use and include patient-reported experiences to improve quality and equity.
- Create a holistic payment system that increases access to comprehensive high-quality maternal health services, including behavioral health services.
- Strengthen economic and social supports for people before, during, and after pregnancy.
Some specific recommendations, for instance, call for increasing midwifery, lactation consultants, and doula services — and better training for health care providers in implicit bias and shared decision-making. Another is giving prospective parents consumer-friendly data on how hospital systems differ on quality, including information on differences by patient race, ethnicity, and language. The MAP calls for expanded funding for proven models of care and services that better support pregnant people and lead to healthier births. Specific models, like HealthySteps, are described within the MAP. In the MAP Appendix we outline how all nine of the Nurture NJ goals can be achieved by working to drive change in the four policy areas in the MAP.
Interestingly, the Maternity Blueprint for the nation, which was recently released by the White House, aligns well with the MAP and speaks to potential opportunities for funding these ideas.
To further share the MAP, over the next two weeks, the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health is hosting four Facebook Live sessions – one on each area of the MAP. I hope you’ll check out the MAP and see which of the actions are within your organization’s ability to advance. Together, we can all support the policy changes needed to give pregnant individuals and new babies the best care possible.
The Quality Institute thanks the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for its generous funding support for the MAP and for its ongoing dedication and support for birth equity and advancing maternal infant health in New Jersey.