U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Awards $9 Million to Develop New Models to Improve Obstetrics Care in Rural Communities

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded nearly $9 million to launch the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) program. Recipients from three states, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas, will receive up to $600,000 in a planning year and up to $800,000 in three implementation years to pilot, test, and develop models that improve access to and continuity of maternal obstetrics care in rural communities.

“Strengthening rural and maternal health are important priorities for HHS and the Trump Administration. This program’s investments will support both of these priorities by developing new and innovative networks to improve rural maternal care,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “By testing out approaches through pilot programs, we can lay the groundwork for making a real impact on these important health challenges.”

The RMOMS program, administered by HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), is a part of a suite of maternal health investments made by HRSA to support local and state level efforts to improve maternal health nationwide. The new program is unique because its network requirements detail the involvement of specific stakeholders, including rural hospitals, health centers, state Medicaid offices, and Healthy Start and home visiting programs, with the intention of developing sustainable strategies at a regional level.

Networks will develop strategies that focus on rural hospital obstetric service aggregation, developing a network approach to coordinating a continuum of care, leveraging telehealth and specialty care, and approaches to financial sustainability.

“We are eager to learn from our investments in these pilot programs,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Tom Engels. “Our goal for the program is to identify new and sustainable strategies tailored to rural communities that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of mothers and children across America.”

Below are the three RMOMS award recipients:

Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, MO with an award amount of $3,000,000.

Taos Health Systems, Inc. in Taos, NM with an award amount of $2,982,779.

Bexar County Hospital District in San Antonio, TX with an award amount of $2,981,737.

Learn more about how HRSA is addressing rural and maternal health care.

HRSA is the primary Federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit www.hrsa.gov.