Acting Secretary of Social Services Joins Maternity Care Coalition for Panel Discussion on Ongoing Work and Opportunities to Support Maternal and Child Health

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Department of Social Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today joined the Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) for a panel discussion covering the Wolf administration’s focus on improvement health care and support for pregnant women, new parents and young children, MCC’s work to support childbirth parents and families in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and opportunities to advance parent support and children throughout the Commonwealth.

“Pregnancy and the postpartum period should be a time of great joy for parents, but this period also comes with extreme physical and emotional stress that can influence the long-term health and well-being of parents. and children. Parents and children deserve support tailored to their individual needs during this critical time, and the Wolf administration and my department are committed to using our programs to support this necessary and potentially life-saving work, ”said Acting Secretary Snead . “As we seek to advance the supports provided through the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program, it is essential to learn from the experiences of the organizations providing and those directly receiving services to ensure that our work can meet the needs. realities of our communities. I am grateful to the Maternity Care Coalition for their dedication to parents and children, and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with them moving forward.

Since taking office, Governor Wolf has prioritized expanding access to health care and support services that help parents be supported during pregnancy and postpartum and provide children with a strong and healthy start that can lead to positive health, well-being and results throughout their lives.

Pennsylvania has made significant investments in home visiting programs, expanding access to home visiting services that support parents and young children. Additionally, in 2020, home visiting services for first-time parents and children with special needs became part of Pennsylvania’s medical assistance program.

DHS also participates in the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PQC), a cross-system public-private partnership that aims to advance maternal and child health and leverage perinatal care providers to improve health and well-being. pregnant and postpartum mothers and their children. The PQC focuses on supporting parents with prenatal and postpartum depression, opioid use disorders in parents and the impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome on children, and others. chronic health problems that can affect the health and well-being of parents and children. The PQC’s Moving on Maternal Depression effort aims to expand improved screening for prenatal and postpartum depression for birthing parents and to improve follow-up and use of post-referral services for additional care. The initiative also aims to address racial and ethnic disparities in screening and follow-up for prenatal and postpartum depression. Improved screening is currently being implemented in 16 hospitals.

The Wolf Administration also recently announced that Pennsylvania will opt for extended postpartum coverage for birthing parents covered by Medicaid because of their pregnancy. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, states can extend the period of postpartum coverage for Medicaid from 60 days to one year after childbirth. Data on maternal mortality rates in the United States in 2018 and 2019 show a growing trend that is particularly concentrated among black women compared to Latin and white women, and a review of pregnancy-related deaths in Pennsylvania found that nearly 60% of these deaths between 42 days and one year after childbirth.

The extension of postpartum coverage for mothers covered by Medicaid will ensure continuity and access to health care during a critical period of the mother’s life and a period fundamental to the health and well-being of their mothers. children. The postpartum extension will be available for states to take effect in April 2022. Currently, individuals are not deregistered from Medicaid due to the federal declaration of public health emergency. A formal statement of intent to extend the period of postpartum coverage will be submitted to the federal government once guidelines are issued to states by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The Maternity Care Coalition remains delighted that Pennsylvania is pursuing the American Rescue Plan option to expand postpartum coverage,” said Marianne Fray, CEO of MCC. “When access to high quality, culturally appropriate services is available to all families, health outcomes improve. By expanding postpartum Medicaid, mothers and birth attendants will have access to essential care and resources – a necessary step for equity in perinatal health in Pennsylvania. “

To learn more about the Maternity Care Coalition, visit www.maternitycarecoalition.org.

To learn more about DHS programs and to request medical assistance and other assistance programs in Pennsylvania, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Erin James – ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov

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