Chicago, IL, April 13, 2023 -- In the U.S., Medicaid covers more than 4 in 10 births and the majority of births in several states. In honor of April’s Medicaid Awareness Month, AHIMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), in partnership with Mother of Fact and Claris Health, is seeking support for a national initiative to build health literacy and improve access to the evidence-based standard of care for pregnant people at risk for gestational diabetes, a condition that affects 10% to 20% of all U.S. pregnancies and increases the risk for high blood pressure during pregnancy and developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.
“Minority populations with low incomes, low health literacy, and obesity have higher rates of gestational diabetes and face barriers to accessing Medicaid-covered care,” said AHIMA Foundation Program Director Megan McVane, LCSW, CHQP. “The Maternal Health Literacy for Nutrition Care Equity Initiative aims to build awareness and education around the critical importance of timely access to medical nutrition therapy for at-risk patients and the value of building health literacy as a risk reducer. We envision a future where all people, especially during and after pregnancy, are engaged and active participants in their health and wellness journey.”
Pilot Project Wins Initial $10,000 from NIH Connecting the Community for Maternal Health Challenge
Since winning an initial $10,000 through the National Institute of Health (NIH) Connecting the Community for Maternal Health Challenge, AHIMA Foundation in partnership with Mother of Fact, a HIPAA-secure digital health platform that connects patients with critical access to registered dietitians (RDNs), and Claris Health, a nonprofit women’s health clinic serving communities in LA County, are seeking sponsorship funding to implement an innovative health literacy-boosting RDN-led model of care program wrapped into the medical home.
“Research shows personalized, interactive, and mobile app–delivered interventions are worthy of being recommended for maternal glycemic control, and we’re excited to pilot this intervention with patients from Claris Health and other women’s health clinics nationwide – leveraging the health data and health literacy expertise of AHIMA Foundation,” said Emily Sylvester, MS, RDN, LDN, IBCLC, Mother of Fact Founder and CEO. “Since the pandemic, we are seeing a rise in the number of pregnancies meeting the at-risk criteria for gestational diabetes based on BMI and know patients on Medicaid face barriers to receiving and accessing RDN referrals in a timely manner.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics gestational diabetes evidence-based nutrition practice guidelines state: “Birthing people should be referred to a registered dietitian for medical nutrition therapy to achieve and maintain normal glycemic levels and appropriate weight gain while meeting essential nutrients for pregnancy to promote positive maternal and fetal outcomes.”
Data from a 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation state survey show the majority of states do cover nutritional counseling to support pregnant people with gestational diabetes and 34 states cover nutritional counseling for all pregnant people.
The nutrition support Claris Health currently provides to their at-risk patients is wrapped into the scope of practice for their midwives; over 50% of Claris Health’s total patient population is on Medi-Cal, the state of California’s Medicare program. In 2022, over 1,600 patients (49% Latino, 25% Black) received care through their clinics and 20 mobile medical unit sites. The Maternal Health Literacy for Nutrition Care Equity Initiative offers expanded and timely access to medical nutrition therapy provided by RDNs that their at-risk patients wouldn’t otherwise receive.
Make an Impact and Improve Maternal Health Outcomes
AHIMA Foundation Directors Megan McVane and Amanda Krupa are available to meet with and discuss the Maternal Health Literacy for Nutrition Care Equity Initiative at HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition, April 17-21, 2023, in Chicago.
Sponsorships and strategic partnerships are needed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About AHIMA Foundation
AHIMA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and philanthropic arm of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), a global nonprofit association of health information (HI) professionals who work with health data for more than one billion patient visits each year. Founded in 1962, AHIMA Foundation programs, research, and projects help families make informed health decisions, guide evidence-based healthcare system policies and practices, and educate and train aspiring and current health information professionals. Recognizing that health information is human information, AHIMA Foundation works extensively to convene interdisciplinary stakeholders to identify unmet public health and education needs.