We know that lack of prenatal or other pregnancy-related care is a major driver of disparities in maternal and infant mortality.
As we monitored emergency department (ED) admissions through the Camden Coalition Health Information Exchange (HIE), we noticed that many pregnant individuals seen at South Jersey EDs did not appear to be connected to prenatal or other pregnancy-related care.
When Camden was selected as one of ten initial cities for the Safer Childbirth Cities program, we had the opportunity to address this problem through collaboration, data sharing, and flexible funding.
A new care initiation workflow
Our pilot program brought together seven South Jersey Ob/GYN practices to provide follow-up care to patients from four participating EDs.
Camden Coalition staff identify eligible patients through our HIE, and assign them to participating pilot sites. Pilot site staff assist pregnant patients with appointment scheduling, coordination of transportation assistance, and connection to other resources as needed.
The funding for this program allowed us to provide each pilot site with a $10,000 patient cost fund, to be used at the site’s discretion to address patients’ barriers to care.
Sites used their patient cost funds to help patients access transportation to and from their appointments, baby supplies, food, childcare, medical supplies, and more.
This flexible funding also improved staff morale, as staff saw how directly and materially helping their patients decreased no-shows and improved health outcomes.
Reliable transportation was the biggest barrier for many patients. Some pregnant participants in rural Cumberland County had been walking an hour or more each way to get to their appointments.
Pilot staff were trained in how to coordinate transportation with an Uber dashboard, and used their patient cost funds to provide their patients with taxi vouchers.
One site saw a 68% decrease in no-show rates among pilot participants. None of their patients that benefited from transportation assistance had significant problems with their pregnancy or delivery, despite facing social barriers that are known to impact health outcomes.
Learn more about our work connecting pregnant patients to care in our demonstration snapshot.