Ohio FQHC Infant Vitality Initiative
Persistent disparities in birth outcomes and infant health within the first year of life exist between the population as a whole and certain sub-populations. Simply put, infant mortality has reached a crisis level in Ohio relative to the rest of the nation, and with the lives of our most precious population at risk, Ohio’s Community Health Centers know it is time to answer this pressing call to action.
All Ohio FQHCs were invited to participate in a FQHC Quality Improvement Demonstration Project focusing on birth spacing (specifically, implementation of Long Acting Reversible Contraception or LARCs). Four awardees were chosen in early January 2017. Congratulations to the four awardees:
• Crossroad Health Center
• Lower Lights Christian Health Center
• Neighborhood Family Practice
• Third Street Family Health Services
This initiative will focus on quality improvement and training of the participating centers around birth spacing and is slate to run through December 2017. Planning is underway, please check back on this page for updates!
Infant Mortality in Ohio
Infant mortality continues to be a leading public health issue. Ohio’s rate continues to be substantially higher than the national rate, and higher than most other states in the country. Additionally the black infant mortality rate is more than twice the white rate, which is simply unconscionable.
Senate Bill 332, which will enact Ohio’s Commission of Infant Mortality Recommendations will go into effect April 6, 2017. This bill requires, “the Director of Health to coordinate with the Medicaid Director to provide technical assistance and grants to federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and FQHC look-alikes that seek to include the practice of a prescriber who promotes awareness and use of LARC devices (a "LARC First practice").” More information on these opportunities is forthcoming.
Learn more about this public health crisis from the Ohio Department of Health’s Ohio Infant Mortality Data webpage.
What is OACHC Doing to Promote Infant Vitality?
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) play a key role in addressing infant mortality as they currently serve over 13,000 pregnant women, more than 15,000 infants, and at least 150,000 women of childbearing age each year. Services are provided by 46 organizations in 250+ sites across Ohio.
Former Senator Shannon Jones, who has been a staunch supporter of infant mortality prevention, recognized that role and was instrumental in securing a $250,000 earmark of General Revenue Funds in HB 294. This earmark is specifically for FQHCs to promote proven interventions in birth spacing (Ohio FQHC Infant Vitality Initiative), safe sleep, and smoking cessation. The funding was made available to OACHC to identify the relevant proven interventions and support the FQHCs in their implementation.
In order to identify best practices that would be fitting for the FQHC clinical setting, OACHC con-ducted Key Informant Interviews with almost two dozen thought leaders and experts in innovative programming in the areas of focus: Birth Spacing, Safe Sleep, and Smoking Cessation. These experts represented Ohio’s leading organizations in the Infant Mortality effort such as the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, March of Dimes, American Academy of Pediatrics - Ohio Chapter, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative, state agencies, and local initiatives.
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