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New initiative to improve maternal health outcomes statewide

JACKSON, TN (WNBJ) -UnitedHealthcare and Nashville-based initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC) made an announcement recently about a new health program designed to improve maternal and infant death rates throughout the state.

UnitedHealthcare says the state of Tennessee has one the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

“UnitedHealthcare found it unacceptable that black women are three times more likely to die than white women during childbirth. UnitedHealthcare wants to be part of the solution. We joined forces with the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care to look at solutions to help address those healthcare disparities who are pregnant or who have just given birth,” said Lauren Barca, VP of Clinical Services UnitedHealthcare of Tennessee.

With $280,000 dollars in funding from UnitedHealthcare, the initiative will focus on training hospital staff on how to better deal with maternal hypertension and hemorrhage.

“High blood pressure and hemorrhage can be two of the leading causes of death in women regardless of race so we decided that one of the ways to help hospitals in the state of Tennessee to meant these requirements is to put in place a stimulation program. We know especially in smaller hospitals you may not get a hemorrhage, but twice a year so if you don't practice that and you do not know where things are then it becomes harder for you to respond,” said Dr. Cornelia Graves, the State Co-Leader for Maternal Hypertension.

Several hospitals in the surrounding area are providing train-the-trainer-styled instruction for maternal and infant clinical staff by county. Some of those counties include Dyer, Hardin, Shelby, and Madison counties.

Medical professionals believe this program will make a difference and begin to forge a new pathway for women to receive the maternal care they need.

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