Maine is the most rural state in the nation, with a total population of 1.34 million. Poverty, rural isolation, lack of public transportation, food insecurity and substance use are some of Maine’s top health-related challenges, all of which impact maternal, child and family health status. Over the last 20 years, eight hospital OB units have closed, and another OB unit closure is pending in a small city that is home to a growing community of immigrants and refugees. Key assets of the state include a shared commitment by health care providers, advocates, public health organizations, community leaders and many others to improving outcomes for all infants, children and families, particularly those experiencing health inequities. PQC4ME, Maine’s statewide perinatal quality collaborative, is actively working to address these challenges and improve outcomes for all mothers, infants, and families. Based at the Maine Medical Association Center for Quality Improvement, PQC4ME plans, implements and evaluates perinatal QI initiatives in collaboration with all Maine birthing hospitals and many public and private sector partners. Strategies for Year 1 proposed in this application include: 1) Plan, implement, and evaluate the AIM Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy Bundle by engaging with 100% of Maine’s 25 birthing hospitals, with particular focus on those that serve disproportionately impacted populations; 2) Advance health equity in the diagnosis and management of maternal hypertension by engaging vulnerable populations in evaluating tools and resources used in birthing facility patient education and discharge planning; and 3) Establish PQC4ME as Maine’s center of excellence for perinatal quality improvement initiatives by enhancing its capacity to make measurable improvements in perinatal care and outcomes statewide. Results of the initiative will be used to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of maternal hypertension and will ultimately lead to r
eductions in maternal morbidity and mortality. In addition to the Year 1 QI initiative, PQC4ME will continue implementation of existing QI projects, identify priorities for future perinatal QI initiatives, lead the PQC4ME Steering Committee, implement education training and dissemination activities and collaborate with state, regional and national partners, including the NNPQC.