Help Eliminate the Barriers to Timely Prenatal Care

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is using timeliness of prenatal care as one of the quality health metrics to show how well Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) are improving care, making quality care accessible, eliminating health disparities, and curbing the rising cost of health care. The focus of this metric is on women who delivered a live birth and who received a prenatal care visit in the first trimester of pregnancy, or within 42 days of enrollment (if they enrolled after their first trimester).

As you know, prenatal care is an important time for providers to monitor the health of the mother and baby. It offers your team a key opportunity to educate mothers on a variety of health issues related to pregnancy, such as smoking, alcohol use, exercise, nutrition, preparing for childbirth, and infant care and feeding. However, the InterCommunity Health Network CCO (IHN-CCO) members you serve face a number of challenges.

IHN-CCO Members Have Many Barriers to Getting Prenatal Care
According to a 2011 study in Oregon, women on Medicaid cited the following reasons for not getting care:

  • I didn’t have my Oregon Health Plan or Medicaid card
  • I didn’t have enough money or insurance to pay for my visits
  • I couldn’t get an appointment when I wanted one
  • I didn’t know I was pregnant
  • The doctor or my health plan would not start care as early as I wanted 

How You Can Help Address These Barriers
IHN-CCO has an important role to play in eliminating barriers for members. As providers, you can help by incorporating the following strategies:

  • Ensure first prenatal care visits are a high priority by endorsing initiation of prenatal care in the first 13 weeks.
  • Support preventive reproductive health by screening childbearing age women regarding their intentions for pregnancy as a routine part of primary care. (One Key Question Initiative – [link to previous article])
  • Build partnerships with established prenatal and maternity care programs in our area.

Every effort to improve the timeliness of prenatal care can lead to improving the health outcomes of mothers and their babies. We have included links to OHA documents for more information on strategies to improve timeliness of prenatal care and details about the quality metric:

OHA guidance document for timeliness of prenatal care
Measure details for timeliness of prenatal care

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