Saving the lives of new moms after they give birth is the goal of a new program at Parkland Health & Hospital System.
The health system launched the Extending Maternal Care After Pregnancy (eMCAP) focuses on getting care to new moms after they leave the hospital.
"That is actually one of the highest risk times for serious complications like high blood pressure and diabetes, as well issues related to maternal death," said David B. Nelson, MD, chief of obstetrics and chief maternal medical director at Parkland and assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
In the past, Parkland concentrated its efforts on helping moms receive prenatal care, with significant results.
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In 2018, 97% of women who delivered at Parkland accessed care prior to having their baby.
With the increase in postpartum deaths, this focus has shifted to address healthcare, social and economic challenges facing women after they give birth.
Two of the most common reasons for maternal death in the first year are cardiac conditions and drug overdose.
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The highest risk of pregnancy-related mortality in Texas was found among Black women.
The eMCAP program is designed to offer health services to at-risk women of color in the first year after giving birth.
The program will focus on South Dallas, where families lack, not just the brick and mortar healthcare facilities, but transportation to get to routine medical appointments.
Mothers in the program will receive free services that include in-home visits by a nurse practitioner who monitors the new mother’s blood pressure, nutrition and conditions including diabetes, anxiety and depression.
All care is supervised by a medical doctor specializing in care after birth.
Community Health Workers help new mothers with other services they may need, such as finding health insurance, obtaining financial assistance, transportation to medical appointments and referral to other community health resources. A clinical pharmacist, behavioral health counselors and other specialists are available as needed.
"We are able to not just say, 'hey, go see your doctor.' We are able to bring them into the eMCAP program and see a provider or a pharmacist," said Marjorie Quint-Bouzid, MPA, RN, NEA-BC, Parkland’s senior vice president of Women’s and Infant’s Specialty Health.
Parkland has enrolled more than 1,000 women.