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How can access to maternal and obstetrics care in rural areas be improved?

Evaluating rural maternity and obstetrics management strategies

Challenge

Rural hospital closures and health care workforce shortages are just 2 of the factors that impede access to maternity care among rural residents.

HRSA established the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) pilot program to improve access to continuous, coordinated, and risk-appropriate maternal and obstetrics care in rural communities.

Solution

Westat provides support to Mission Analytics on this evaluation. The goal of the study was to describe implementation efforts of awardees and assess their impact on care access and health outcomes.

Awardees implemented innovative models designed to meet the specific unmet needs of their target populations. Common strategies follow:

  • Building networks that include rural hospitals, community health centers, and other partners to improve access to care and maternal and neonatal outcomes
  • Using telehealth platforms to support rural clinicians and the obstetric patients
  • Establishing payment structures that promote financial sustainability for ongoing access to high-quality maternal care

Results

Results were designed to help assess whether the program could be replicated in other rural communities. Activities included the following:

  • Developed program logic model and patient journey maps
  • Supported awardees with development of a data collection plan
  • Conducted interviews with network leadership, care managers, and clinicians
  • Collected patient-level data
  • Analyzed qualitative and quantitative data
  • Developed an awardee fact sheet and annual reports

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