This week, our In Focus section reviews the new Transforming Maternal Health (TMaH) Model, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (the Innovation Center) announced on December 15, 2023. TMaH is the fourth major model that the Innovation Center has introduced to its payment portfolio since July.
Pregnancy-related deaths have more than doubled since 1987 to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, with health disparities only worsening outcomes for different racial and ethnic groups. For example, the pregnancy-related mortality rates for Black and Native American and Alaska Native women are approximately two to three times higher than the rate for White women. In recent years, 38 states have extended post-partum coverage and 11 states now offer doula coverage for Medicaid enrollees. This initiative accelerates the focus on maternal outcomes and, with nearly 43 percent of births paid for by Medicaid, has the potential to impact health across generations.
This model is designed exclusively to improve maternal healthcare for people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The last Innovation Center maternal health-focused model, Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns, ran from 2012 to 2016 with the goal of reducing preterm births and improving outcomes for newborns and pregnant women. The TMaH model takes a whole-person approach to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care, addressing the physical, mental health, and social needs experienced during pregnancy.
Participating state Medicaid agencies (SMAs) will receive up to $17 million over the 10-year period to develop a value-based alternative payment model for maternity care services, with the intention of improving quality and health outcomes and promoting the long-term sustainability of services. TMaH will focus on three pillars, with a range of solutions outlined for each.
|Access to care, infrastructure, and workforce capacity
|Increase access to birth centers and midwives.Increase access to perinatal community health workers and doulasEnhance data collection, exchange, and linkage through improvements in electronic health records and health information exchanges
|Quality improvement and safety
|Implement patient safety bundles or specific protocols that promote the reduction of avoidable procedures and lead to improved outcomesPromote achieving “birthing friendly” designationIntroduce option to promote shared decision making between mothers and providers
|Whole-person care delivery
|Institute evidence-based medical and social risk assessment to drive risk-appropriate careDeliver care consistent with individual preferencesRoutinely screening and follow-up care for perinatal depression, anxiety, tobacco, and substance use during prenatal and postpartum periodsIncorporate home monitoring and telehealth technology for birthing people who have medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, that complicate pregnanciesRoutinely screening and follow-up care for health-related social needs (HSRNs)Establish reliable referral pathways to and from community-based organizations (CBOs) to address HSRNsDevelop and implement health equity plans as well as cultural competency technical assistance for providers
The TMaH model is designed to support birthing persons along their care journey, expanding continuity, and improving outcomes.
The Model will have two phases for participating SMAs:
- Pre-Implementation: A 3-year period during which states receive targeted technical assistance to achieve pre-implementation milestones prior to the implementation phase.
- Implementation: A 7-year period where the SMAs (as the awardee) implement the program with critical partners, such as Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), Perinatal Quality Collaboratives, hospitals, birth centers, health centers and rural health clinics, maternity care providers and community-based organizations.
The model also requires a health equity plan, which has been a consistent requirement across models from the Innovation Center. Awardees must develop a plan that addresses disparities among underserved populations, such as racial and ethnic groups and people living in rural areas, who are at higher risk for poor maternal outcomes.
TMaH Opportunities and Considerations
The model offers states resources and technical assistance to develop value-based alternative payment model to support whole-person pregnancy, birth, and post-partum care and improved outcomes. Many SMAs are already working on programs to innovate care and payment, and the TMaH is an opportunity to expand and accelerate those programs.
The model offers an opportunity for states that have not expanded post-partum coverage or added doula benefits to adopt these policies with the funding and technical assistance to support their efforts.
SMAs interested in this opportunity may want to evaluate their application readiness and pre-plan for the application.
CMS is expected to release a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in Spring 2024, and the application will be due in Summer 2024.
The HMA team will continue to evaluate the TMaH model as more information becomes available. For more information, contact Amy Bassano ([email protected]), Melissa Mannon ([email protected]), and Andrea Maresca ([email protected]).