Harrisburg, PA - Today, the Wolf Administration joined hospitals, providers, health plans, and stakeholders for the kickoff of the first Learning Collaborative hosted by the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC) at the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel. The focus of PA PQC is on reducing maternal mortality and improving care for pregnant and postpartum women and newborns affected by opioids.
In partnership with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global, the Wolf Administration is contributing $500,000 in support of the creation of the PA PQC as part of the $55.9 million Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Association grant to bolster the state’s response to prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.
“Although everyone throughout the commonwealth has been affected by the opioid crisis, there are few more vulnerable populations than pregnant women and their babies,” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Secretary Jen Smith. “We are happy to support, through action and funding, the critically important work of Pennsylvania’s PQC to provide high-quality, data-driven improvements to our health care and treatment systems – while ultimately providing a better quality of life for the tiniest Pennsylvanians.”
Through the PA PQC, hospital associations and health plans will participate in the Learning Collaborative sessions to launch quality improvement projects and track the impact of their collective work through an online data dashboard. The online data dashboard will assist their providers on quality improvement projects and provide feedback to the providers.
Nationwide, newborns born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and pregnancy-associated deaths related to substance use disorders are rising due to the opioid epidemic. In response, the PA PQC will review and help to implement several key interventions, including:
- educating staff and patients about substance use disorders;
- screening pregnant and postpartum women for substance misuse and physical and behavioral health co-morbidities;
- helping to connect women to the right treatment and supportive resources;
- standardizing non-pharmacological measures for opioid-exposed newborns;
- standardizing pharmacological interventions for newborns with NAS;
- · ensuring a safe discharge; and
- supporting the mother and baby with wrap-around services in the community.
“As we fight the opioid crisis, we must be sure that all who are affected receive the supports they need to lead fulfilling, healthy lives,” said Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “Pregnant women and newborns affected by opioid use disorder may have critical short- and long-term needs to protect their child’s health. The PQC’s work will help providers as they support mothers seeking treatment and engage in recovery along with their babies who need medical attention to have the best opportunity for the new families to have strong, healthy beginnings.”
The PA PQC is leveraging statewide efforts by serving as an action arm of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee and disseminating guidelines from the Department of Human Services’, Department of Health's, and Department of Drug and Alcohol Program’s Multi-Disciplinary Workgroup on Infants with Substance Exposure (MDWISE).
Established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PQCs are state or multi-state networks of teams working to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies. PQC members identify health care processes that need to be improved and use the best available methods to make changes as quickly as possible.
More information about Pennsylvania’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative can be found here.
For more information about the work the Wolf Administration is doing to combat the opioid crisis, visit pa.gov/opioids.