DHHR receives $3 million to expand opioid use disorder services for pregnant and postpartum women

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has received a $3 million federal grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center to address opioid use disorder among pregnant and postpartum women. West Virginia is one of only 10 states to receive the funding.

The grant will support the Maternal Opioid Model (MOM) initiative, which focuses on improving health outcomes for mothers and babies by addressing fragmentation of care for pregnant and postpartum women receiving Medicaid benefits. The initiative builds upon the Drug Free Moms and Babies programs that provide services through 14 maternity care sites in West Virginia with funding from DHHR and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Marshall Health/Marshall University Resource Corporation will lead the MOM project as the designated Care Delivery Partner for Medicaid. The West Virginia Perinatal Partnership will collaborate on the project to implement provider outreach education and support to program sites.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to take this successful and innovative project to the next level to ensure comprehensive services are available to all pregnant and postpartum women in West Virginia,” said Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health.

The grant, which will fund the MOM initiative over a five-year period, provides the foundation for Medicaid to develop funding streams that support integration of maternity and behavioral health care.

“Under the MOM initiative, we will explore the development of a health home model for this vulnerable population.  This would enable Medicaid to support services provided in care settings where behavioral health and care coordination historically have not been reimbursed,” said Cynthia Beane, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Medical Services.

Through the MOM initiative, women are screened for substance use disorder and then provided comprehensive care coordination to help ensure the best possible health outcomes.

“The programs are by design all located within delivery hospitals and obstetric offices, where women seek maternity care rather than solely within behavioral health clinics.  It is the integration of behavioral health care into these environments that is innovative and as we have found, critically important,” said Janine Breyel, Director of Substance Use Programming for the WV Perinatal Partnership.

Beth Welsh, Associate Director of Operations for Addiction Sciences in Family Medicine at Marshall University added, “Pregnancy is a key time to interrupt the cycle of addiction as women want the best for their babies. Many communities have fragmented care or just no care options for pregnant women. We are eager to lead this project to help replicate these services to reach women in low-access areas of the state.”

Tyler Barker
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