HHS to improve maternal health outcomes with new CMS care model that expands access to services, other proven maternal health approaches

Dec. 18, 2023
Focus on care to reduce disparities, improve outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women and their infants.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced innovative actions to improve maternal health and birth outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women and their infants through the new Transforming Maternal Health (TMaH) Model.

This 10-year payment and care-delivery model will support participating state Medicaid agencies (SMAs) in developing and implementing a whole-person approach to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care for women with Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage.

Despite spending more per capita for maternity care than any other nation in the world, the U.S. has higher rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes than any other high-income country. The goal of the TMaH Model is to ensure pregnant and postpartum mothers with Medicaid or CHIP health insurance receive personalized care that can improve their health outcomes, including fewer low-risk cesarean sections, and fewer instances of severe maternal morbidity. The TMaH Model also seeks to support or increase access to additional maternal care providers, such as midwives, birth centers, and doula services. Each participating state Medicaid agency will be eligible for up to $17 million during the model’s 10-year period.

To help mothers feel supported in their birthing plan, states participating in the TMaH Model will increase access to a variety of maternal health providers, such as midwives, freestanding birth centers, and doula services. Participating Medicaid agencies will work with their hospitals and health systems to help achieve the CMS “Birthing-Friendly” designation, which is a federal quality designation with a focus on maternal health for hospitals and health systems. Additionally, states will foster connections to implement evidence-based practices and lessons, like monitoring pregnant women at home who are diagnosed with conditions that can lead to pregnancy-related complications, such as hypertension and gestational diabetes. Participating states will also have their maternity care providers screen for and address pregnant women’s health-related social needs – including, but not limited to, challenges like inadequate access to nutritious food, housing insecurity, or substance use disorder – by connecting mothers to community-based organizations.

HHS release