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New CMS Maternal Care Delivery Model Aims for Enhanced Health Outcomes

The Transforming Maternal Health (TMaH) model will run for ten years to increase pregnancy and postpartum care access

December 20, 2023  – In a significant move, CMS has unveiled an ambitious new care delivery model to reshape the landscape of maternal health care. This new initiative, named The Transforming Maternal Health (TMaH) model, will run for 10 years and provide support for state Medicaid agencies, focusing on the health and well-being of mothers and newborns.

Launching in 2024, the TMaH model is designed to provide both technical and financial support aimed at elevating maternal health outcomes. This initiative aligns seamlessly with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing the quality, safety, and equity of maternity care.

CMS Deputy Administrator and Innovation Center Director Liz Fowler said in a press release, “We have heard loud and clear that many women do not feel listened to or supported during their birth experience, and the current rate of maternal morbidity and mortality is deeply concerning. This model aims to improve health outcomes for mothers and their newborns, and support a system that makes mothers feel empowered, safe, and healthy throughout their pregnancy and postpartum.”

State Medicaid agencies involved in the TMaH model will receive funding and technical assistance, enabling them to connect mothers with a diverse array of maternal health providers, including midwives, freestanding birth centers, and doulas. This expanded access is expected to lead to significant improvements, such as reduced cesarean sections in low-risk pregnancies, decreased use of pain medication during labor, shorter labor times, and lower instances of postpartum anxiety and depression.

An integral part of the TMaH model is the CMS Birthing-Friendly designation. Participating states will collaborate with hospitals and healthcare systems to achieve this status, signifying a dedicated focus on maternal health. These efforts will include the implementation of evidence-based practices, such as remote monitoring for pregnant individuals with conditions that may complicate pregnancy.

In its pursuit of a whole-person approach, the TMaH model emphasizes the creation of personalized birth plans tailored to each patient’s physical, social, and mental health needs. Maternity care providers in participating states will screen for and address broader social needs that impact health, such as nutritional deficiencies, substance use disorders, and housing insecurity, by linking patients with relevant community resources.

The TMaH application period is set to open in Spring 2024, with a three-year pre-implementation phase beginning in January 2025. This period is designed to thoroughly prepare participants for the model’s full implementation. The state Medicaid agencies selected may receive up to $17 million over ten years to support this transformative effort.

This model aligns with the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis and the CMS Maternity Care Action Plan. It also supports the Administration’s push for states to extend Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage to a full year under the American Rescue Plan Act.

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