The Louisiana Department of Health has been selected as one of 10 states that have been awarded the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Model grant by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center. The grant will allow the Department and its partner hospital, Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, to address gaps in the care of pregnant and postpartum Medicaid members with opioid use disorder.

The model is CMS’s next step in a comprehensive strategy to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. Through this program, the Department will take the lead in testing whether the coordination and integration of clinical care and other services can improve the quality of care and reduce costs for mothers and infants.

Opioid use disorder increases the likelihood that pregnant and postpartum women will experience poor maternal outcomes, including preterm labor and complications related to delivery. Such problems are frequently made worse by malnourishment, interpersonal violence and other health-related social needs.

Infants exposed to opioids face negative outcomes such as a higher risk of being born preterm, having a low birth weight, and experiencing the effects of neonatal abstinence syndrome.

“To best address the opioid crisis in the State, the Louisiana Department of Health is bringing together the resources and funding to effectively respond to this health challenge,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

“This grant allows the Department to address two critical health priorities, maternal health and combating the opioid crisis. By partnering with Woman’s Hospital, we can integrate the services that will improve the quality of care and improve outcomes for mothers and infants,” Gee said.

The grant will also expand access to care and infrastructure, as well as create sustainable coverage and payment strategies that support ongoing coordination and integration of care.

In September 2018, Woman's launched the GRACE Program, which stands for Guiding Recovery and Creating Empowerment. GRACE is a care coordination program that connects pregnant women with opioid use disorder to treatment and support resources in the community. It is the only program of its kind in Louisiana and one of few in the nation. More than 70 women have enrolled since its inception, with more than 90% delivering at full term.

 "As both the largest birthing hospital and the largest NICU in Louisiana, Woman’s is in a position to be a part of the solution to the opioid crisis and impact Louisiana’s families in a meaningful way," said Barbara Griffith, MD, president and CEO of Woman's Hospital. "We look forward to working with the Louisiana Department of Health to continue improving care and outcomes for these patients."