Though Texas’ maternal mortality rate was found to be lower than was previously reported, the Texas Department of State Health Services is still looking for ways to improve care for expecting mothers.
DSHS recently concluded the state’s maternal mortality number was 56 deaths in 2012, not 147 as previously reported. This came after a review of death data, along with birth and fetal death records.
“We know that we have the opportunity to impact both maternal mortality and morbidity,” Dr. Manda Hall, associate commissioner for community health improvement, said.
Texas DSHS is now partnering with the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) to create an initiative called TexasAIM. The maternal safety resources from AIM are dedicated to best practices for improving maternal care.
“[It can be] a grouping of tools, checklists, can be example protocols that really kind of help a team, physicians, nurses and hospitals kind of be ready to identify and act when they’re faced with something, like for example, a maternal hemorrhage,” Hall said.
TexasAIM will first focus on resources to care for obstetric hemorrhage. The initiative will also help mothers dealing with opioid use disorder and severe hypertension.
Dr. Kimberly DeStefano from St. David’s Women’s Center in Austin says their hospitals are participating in TexasAIM because the national guidance from AIM can provide new ideas on how to care for the moms who doctors are seeing locally.
The facilities from St. David’s that are participating are St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas, St. David’s Medical Center, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Georgetown Hospital and St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.
“This allows us to not only participate in appropriate data collection, but it’s also an assessment of what the true issues are and how we can reduce that,” DeStefano said.
There are already some resources available for moms dealing with substance use disorder, like outpatient methadone clinics and physicians who can help with pain management. DeStefano says they’re trying to learn what additional services are available for mothers after giving birth.
“That’s one place where we’re really missing a lot of resources and if we can utilize the AIM movement to help St. David’s have more of those resources and something to draw upon, that will be the best for everyone,” she said.
TexasAIM was made possible with funding from the Title V Maternal and Child Health block grant.
Hospitals are not charged a fee when signing up. There are currently more than 40 hospitals participating, according to DSHS records. The first kickoff meeting with hospitals and state health leaders will take place in Austin on June 4.