The Econometrica Team contributed to an important discussion on actionable ways to improve maternal health outcomes in rural areas. 

On June 12, Econometrica employees joined A Conversation on Maternal Health Care in Rural Communities: Charting a Path to Improved Access, Quality, and Outcomes, a collaborative forum hosted by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in conjunction with several of its partners. The event gathered providers, researchers, policymakers, professional society members, and other stakeholders to discuss the state of maternal healthcare in rural areas and identify key priority areas and action steps to improve outcomes.

The event consisted of panels featuring key leaders in the field as well as a working lunch. Attendees created a set of key priorities and action steps for solutions under categories such as health disparities, clinical/quality improvement, social determinants of health, payment, public education and public health, workforce, and legislation. The concluding facilitated discussion delved deeper into a few of the identified priorities to identify actionable steps towards improving outcomes.

Some of the key takeaways from the session were the broad racial, ethnic, and income inequities in terms of access and health outcomes in maternal health. One presenter explained that equity is more than just an open door—it means providing equitable, culturally conscious care to people with different needs once they get to facilities. Additionally, the social determinants of health are major drivers of health outcomes in rural areas. Community Health Workers and Community Health Extension Workers can have major impacts on rural populations working in conjunction with rural-based midwives. These human resources can help with the management of a number of chronic conditions that are prevalent in rural communities.

Many presenters and attendees emphasized the importance of expanding Medicaid at the State level in addressing rural health issues. Expanding Medicaid reimbursements for the cost of care is critical (e.g., by extending Medicaid to cover services through 12 months postpartum, exploring Alternative Payment Model options, and expanding Medicaid coverage to more services such as telemedicine and doulas). Providers also emphasized the need for open source data due to difficulties for rural hospitals in collecting their own data. Workforce training is another key opportunity to improve access to maternal healthcare through loan repayment opportunities and rural residency trainings that encourage rural inhabitants to train and remain in their hometowns to practice.

Econometrica is excited to be part of such a vibrant and productive conversation with so many key leaders in the field. It was a great day!

About Econometrica:

Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers and business development.

Read more about CMS’ rural health initiative here.