MA effort to improve maternal care seeks hospital collaborators, data

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Massachusetts hospitals are being urged to contribute data about their maternal health services as part of a statewide collaboration to better meet the care needs of mothers giving birth. 

The voluntary effort aligns with a national strategy to reduce severe maternal morbidity by ensuring that obstetric patients are cared for at hospitals with the resources and personnel needed to manage their unique needs. It is based on the Levels of Maternal Care model developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine currently used in other states. 

The local collaboration is led by the Perinatal and Neonatal Quality Improvement Network (PNQIN) of Massachusetts and uses a survey tool from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop an understanding of levels of care currently available in regions across the state, a first step toward providing equal access to optimal care.

Sarah Easter PSB

Sarah Rae Easter, M.D.

Massachusetts has added questions to the CDC's survey instrument, called the Levels of Care Assessment Tool or LOCATe, to ensure that the results capture information on disparities in care and opportunities to support equity. Sarah Rae Easter, M.D., who leads PNQIN’s Levels of Maternal Care Task Force, explains, “Our task force felt strongly about using LOCATe and this initiative to ensure equitable access to risk-appropriate obstetric care. We also hope the survey will provide insight into opportunities for PNQIN to support the needs of hospitals, their obstetric care providers, and their patients.”

LOCATe data are collected using a secure online platform, which is housed at the Betsy Lehman Center and submitted to the CDC. Following data analysis, the CDC will share results with the Center and PNQIN, which will offer data review and support for improving risk-appropriate maternal care to each hospital that completes the LOCATe survey.

PNQIN and the Betsy Lehman Center are hosting a webinar on March 2 to answer questions about the LOCATe survey and Levels of Maternal Care in Massachusetts. Click for more information and to register.

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