UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi today announced a $550,000 investment in the Mississippi Public Health Institute (MSPHI), a nonprofit entity established to protect and improve the health and well-being of Mississippians. The investment will fund one of MSPHI’s initiatives aimed at improving maternal health outcomes and reducing the Black-white gap in such outcomes.
Funding will enable OB-GYN practices in Mississippi to use a platform that provides educational content and remote patient monitoring for high-risk maternity patients, with the goal of preventing severe maternal morbidity and improving outcomes for both mom and baby. To date, programs are being activated at Hancock Women’s Center in Bay St. Louis, and the following federally qualified health centers: Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, serving Jackson and its surrounding area; Coastal Family Health Center serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast; and Southeast MS Rural Health Care Initiative serving the Pine Belt area and surrounding communities.
“This partnership will help augment existing UnitedHealthcare initiatives to improve prenatal and postpartum care,” said Dr. Dana Carbo-Bryant, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi. “We’ve supported several innovative care models that empower pregnant members and support community-based organizations. This initiative with MSPHI expands our reach and enhances crucial remote patient monitoring abilities.”
Infants born preterm or with low birth weight are at an increased risk for experiencing physical disabilities and developmental impairments throughout their lives. According to America’s Health Rankings, the rate of Mississippi’s low birth weight infants (defined as less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) has been on the rise, now accounting for 12.3% of births, leaving the state ranked last of 50 states. The state’s preterm birth rates declined in 2020, making up 14.2% of births, but Black women in Mississippi experienced a 44% higher rate of pre-term births than all other women according to March of Dimes, which fights for the health of all moms and babies.
“Mississippians face many barriers to care, like distance and health literacy, but there should never be a barrier to opportunity,” said Roy Hart, CEO of MSPHI. “Through this collaboration, we are helping ensure that expectant mothers in vulnerable populations receive the care they need, closing gaps in care by expanding care far outside the clinic.”
This investment is part of several initiatives that UnitedHealthcare, along with its parent company UnitedHealth Group, is launching to address maternal health outcomes throughout the United States. These initiatives include nearly $14 million in recent philanthropic grants to support maternal health and $2.85 million in support to March of Dimes for a public-private partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services as part of a multi-sector partnership that aims to reduce disparities and improve rates of maternal morbidity and mortality in hospitals experiencing some of the poorest outcomes.
UnitedHealthcare serves more than 464,000 people in Mississippi enrolled in employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare and Medicaid benefit plans, with a network of 109 hospitals, and nearly 13,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter
MSPHI is a nonprofit entity established in 2011 to protect and improve the health and well-being of Mississippians, serving as a partner and convener to promote health, improve outcomes and encourage innovations in health systems. We cultivate partnerships aimed at program innovation, health resources, education, applied research, and policy development. MSPHI will engage in partnerships and activities that improve Mississippi’s health.