The Arizona Department of Health Services has received a $10.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration at the US Department of Health and Human Services, to enhance efforts to improve health outcomes for all women in Arizona. Arizona is one of only nine states awarded this competitive federal grant and will receive $2.1 million a year for the next five years.
“Losing even one mom to pregnancy-related complications is one too many,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “With the addition of over $10 million in available funds over the next five years, Arizona will be able to further its commitment to improving the health of Arizona’s moms and babies throughout the state.”
Governor Ducey signed Senate Bill 1040 in April of 2019, establishing a 13 member Advisory Committee to provide recommendations for enhancing data collection and reporting for the Arizona Maternal Mortality Review and requiring the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to release a report on maternal deaths in Arizona. On August 30th, the first meeting of the Advisory Committee established in this bill was held, and the Committee identified the methodology and timeline for the report due December 31st to the Arizona Legislature.
The increased funding will facilitate improved access to care in communities that have limited or no access for pregnant and postpartum women throughout Arizona. The funding will also support systems of care through joining the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health (AIM) Initiative and expanding providers’ participation in AIM throughout the state. Other activities will be implemented to reduce disparities in maternal health and increase pregnant and postpartum women’s awareness of potential warning signs.
“Our comprehensive statewide plan to address the unique challenges in Arizona and improve maternal health outcomes served as the foundation for making Arizona competitive for this grant award,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS. “The additional funding will help us complete our planned action items and help the women of Arizona achieve healthy pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum health.”
The funding will augment the efforts to improve data collection, analysis, and application of maternal mortality and morbidity data for this report and help implement recommendations developed by the Maternal Health Task Force. The funding will also enhance activities outlined in the Maternal Mortality Breakthrough Action Plan and was developed with extensive stakeholder collaboration as part of Governor Ducey’s Health Goal Council.
The Maternal Mortality Breakthrough Action Plan was developed to improve maternal health outcomes by addressing the following goals: increasing awareness of warning signs during pregnancy and postpartum periods, improving access to care, supporting workforce and workforce capacity, improving data collection and surveillance, and supporting systems of care for pregnant and postpartum women in Arizona.