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Posted on: December 15, 2021

KDHE Launches New Initiatives to Address Maternal Mortality

For Immediate Release Graphic

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health to receive funding as part of the State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal Partnership Programs to Reduce Maternal Deaths due to Violence. Additionally, KDHE, in partnership with Kansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative (KPQC), has been accepted to enroll into the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) for the October 2021 cohort. The Kansas maternal mortality rate of 14.8 (2014-2018) is 29.8% higher than the Healthy People 2020 goal of 11.4 maternal deaths per 100,0000 live births. These initiatives will help address the urgent matter of maternal mortality in Kansas.

“These initiatives will provide vital education and training to patients and providers across the state of Kansas,” said Janet Stanek Acting Secretary. “We are thankful for the ongoing collaboration with our partners across the state to implement these key initiatives to help in reducing the maternal mortality rate.”

Maternal Anti-Violence Innovation and Sharing Project

Through Kansas Maternal Mortality Review Committee (KMMRC) case reviews of maternal deaths in Kansas between 2016-2018, homicide was the second leading cause of maternal deaths with substance use disorder and/or mental health contributing to more than half of all pregnancy-associated deaths.

KDHE will work collaboratively with partners at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV), Kansas Connecting Communities (KCC), the KPQC and the KMMRC to launch the Maternal Anti-Violence Innovation and Sharing (MAVIS) Project to reduce maternal deaths in Kansas due to homicide and suicide.

The MAVIS Project will continue to build and expand on the success of the KMMRC to gather additional data related to violent maternal deaths. Additionally, the MAVIS Project will provide cross-training to perinatal care providers and domestic violence service providers related to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, perinatal substance use and intimate partner violence.

Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health

KMMRC has determined that approximately one in four deaths of women during or within one year of pregnancy were pregnancy-related, and over 90% of these deaths were preventable.

The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health will implement a maternal quality initiative project based on their Postpartum Discharge Transition Patient Safety Bundle. It offers a national forum to exchange innovative ideas and a resource for continuous improvement in maternal safety and quality.

Additional Maternal Health Initiatives

KDHE has partnered with KPQC to launch the Fourth Trimester Initiative (FTI), a statewide effort focused on improving maternal health and decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality for all Kansas mothers. FTI uses a three-pronged collaborative approach to address maternal health by including the patient, private and public sectors in education and awareness efforts, including over 25 birthing facilities across the state.

KDHE’s Maternal Warning Signs Initiative (MWS), a component of the FTI project, provides patient, partner and community education throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period on key topics such as the signs of preterm birth and stillbirth, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and warning signs of life-threatening pregnancy-related complications.

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