This week, the Trump Administration announced a new program that would help states care for pregnant women and new moms who are using opioids. This program would also help babies who are born dependent on the drugs.
Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August of 2018 states that four times as many women presented at delivery with an opioid abuse in 2014 than in 1999, from 1.5 per every 1,000 hospital deliveries to 6.5. The health impacts on infants born can be dangerous with higher risks of low birth weight, withdrawal symptoms, premature birth, or even death within the first 28 days of life.
The Maternal Opioid Misuse program, or “MOM model” will work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide services for mothers who are dependent on opioids as well as their babies who can develop neonatal abstinence syndrome. Neonatal abstinence syndrome has severe health consequences, including seizures, feeding difficulties, vomiting, and excessive crying in infants.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar discussed the new program on Tuesday at a Milken Institute event in Washington. D.C. He states that the program would “integrate a wide range of services for pregnant and postpartum women struggling with opioid misuse, to ensure not only their health, well-being, and recovery, but protect the health of their children as well,” according to Medpage Today.
The model will run for 5 years and in up to 12 states. States will be in charge of ensuring that participants in the model have access to a set of essential health services, both physical and behavioral. This includes medication-assisted treatment, maternity care, and other mental health services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will also support pediatric counseling centers that will assist in treating neonatal abstinence syndrome. As far as funding, the federal government will pay for the first two years but by the third year, they are requesting that states find new ways for the program to be funded.
According to the press release by CMS.gov, the main goals of the MOM model are to:
- Improve the quality of care and reduce expenditures for pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder as well as their infants.
- Increase access to treatment, delivery capacity, and infrastructure based on state-specific needs.
- Create sustainable coverage and payment strategies that support ongoing coordination and integration of care.